Feeds

Hawking is leaving gravity on a jet plane

Back again in 20-40 seconds

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.