Feeds

Hawking is leaving gravity on a jet plane

Back again in 20-40 seconds

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Stephen Hawking is going to be sent up on the vomit comet, a specially modified plane that allows its passengers to experience weightlessness. The trip is courtesy of operating firm Zero Gravity, which has waived its normal $3,000 fee for the good professor.

Passengers on the specially modified Boeing 727 experience free-fall during the flight, exactly matching the sensation of being in "zero" gravity in orbit around Earth.

The plane flies in a series of parabolas; long, steep arcs of ascent and descent with a weightless period at each peak lasting between 20 and 40 seconds.

Hawking will be accompanied by two doctors and three nurses who will check him for any ill effects after the first "dive". Zero Gravity says it will consider the mission a success if they get Hawking weightless for around 25 seconds. Any more than that will be a bonus.

The Cambridge physicist is evidently looking forward to the experience. He has made no secret of the fact that he believes humanity's future lies on other planets, and his fascination with space goes beyond his professional interest. Indeed, the man who made black holes mainstream also has a reservation on a sub-orbital flight scheduled for 2009.

The BBC quotes him as saying: "I have wanted to fly in space all of my life. For someone like me whose muscles don't work very well, it will be bliss to be weightless." ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.