Friday, April 27, 2007

Good on ya, Stephen!


Free of his wheelchair and tethered only to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on Thursday fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet, a step he hopes will lead to further space adventures.

The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first climbed to 7.3 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow.

Stephen Hawking hopes his weightless flight will lead to a suborbital flight some time in the future.

The jet then climbed to about 9.7 km and made a parabolic dive back to 7.3 km, allowing Hawking and the other passengers to experience weightlessness for about 25 seconds.

I hope he, of all people, makes it to Space.

At the beginning of the decade I was working on farms and orchards in Australia. One of my coworkers was Czech and could barely speak English, but every night we'd find him sitting on his bunk with an English copy of A Brief History of Time , and a Czech-English dictionary. I think he made it no more than 20 or 24 pages in two months.

No comments: