What would happen if gravity stopped working

What would happen if gravity stopped working
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Gravity, in the form of gravitational waves, is on a lot of people's minds at the moment.

We have all experienced the force of gravity. It is what happens to you when you jump up into the air. Disappointingly for anyone with ambitions to be Supergirl or Superman, we tend to fall right back down to the ground.

But what if we could switch gravity off?

Physics is adamant that this could never actually happen. But that has not stopped people exploring the idea. Here, based on the collective wisdom of several experts, is our best guess at what would happen to you if gravity suddenly vanished.

Jay Buckey, a physician and one-time NASA astronaut, explored how the absence of gravity affects the human body in a short Ted-Ed lecture.

Buckey says that our bodies are adapted to an Earth-like gravitational environment. If we spend time living where gravity is different, such as on board a space station, our bodies change.

It is now an established fact that astronauts lose bone mass and muscle strength during stints in space, and their sense of balance changes.

An absence of gravity brings other problems, as Kevin Fong explains for Wired. For reasons not entirely clear, our red blood cell count falls, bringing on a form of "space anaemia". Wounds take longer to heal and the immune system loses its strength. Even sleep is disturbed if gravity is weak or absent.

That is just what happens after a short visit to space. "What if you were to grow up without gravity?" Buckey asks. "What about the systems that depend on gravity like your muscles, or your balance system, or your heart and blood vessels?"

There is good reason to believe the human body would develop differently.

Read the full article here.

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