Updated: Jan 28
Gravity is the force that keeps us with our feet on the ground. And while the science behind it can get pretty complicated, everybody can experience its effects.
You too can transform your room — or any place for that matter — into a laboratory where you can experiment with gravity.
Here's how: by jumping. Ready?! Jump as high as you can. Now, what happened? Did you levitate in thin air, started floating upwards, or landed back on the ground?
Everybody's glued to Earth by the law of gravity. But it's not just us. In space, even the mighty planets and stars must listen to gravity. Yeap, gravity is kind of the boss. Nothing happens without its approval, and that's why we need to understand how gravity works.
What is gravity?
Gravity is the glue that keeps our world together. Literally. Of course, it's an invisible glue because gravity is an invisible force. Earth's gravity force is what keeps you, me, us, and every other object down on the ground.
Today, everybody knows that gravity is what attracts objects towards one another. But a few centuries ago, people had no idea.
A chap you might have heard of, by the name of Issac Newton, was the first to bump upon the idea of gravity. Story has it Newton was sitting under an apple tree when an apple fell on his head and popped open the concept of gravity.
"Aha!", he said and started scribbling down complicated formulas.
Newton lost no more time and described the Universal Law of Gravity as a mathematical equation. He was onto something big! He figured that the bigger an object was (the more mass it had), the bigger its gravitational force. That's why the small apple fell down, pulled by big Earth's gravitational pull.
It's also why the Sun's gravity is bigger than Earth's.
Now, remember that gravity dictates a lot of things. But it also listens to the other rules of the Universe and plays along. Yeap, the laws of physics love teamwork!
What would happen to Earth without gravity?
Without gravity, you wouldn't be able to sit at your desk or keep your laptop from floating. You'd be drifting in mid-air, trying to get your hand on objects that would randomly go from here to there. What a drag that would be!
But without gravity, you'd have even bigger things to worry about. Like, life on Earth not existing at all!
Think about it.
The Sun's gravity pulls our planet and keeps it in orbit, at a just-right distance. It's why we have such pleasant weather, perfect for life. It's why our atmosphere has the essential elements, ideal for breathing.
Thanks to gravity, every condition is just right for us humans to exist, plants to grow, life to bloom.
Gravity in outer space
In space, gravity is in charge of keeping planets in orbit. That's how the Earth and all the planets in the Solar System keep revolving the Sun. And it's how our Moon keeps orbiting the Earth. And how satellites circle our planet.
Fun fact, the Moon's gravity also affects Earth, and you can see how when you visit the seaside. The Moon's gravity is what causes the ocean tides. Cool, right?
In space, gravity also takes care of creating planets. We told you gravity is kind of the boss. Due to its pull, elements and materials get put together, and that's how planets and stars are born!
Scientists are still trying to fully understand gravity. Sure, we know so much more today than a few decades ago. But we still have a long way to go. Maybe you'll be one of the scientists to help us finally figure out gravity.
Or maybe you want to become an astronaut and experience gravity yourself. Speaking of which...
What would it feel like without gravity?
We've just learned that gravity exists everywhere. But here's the catch: the force of gravity changes depending on how much mass an object has and how close or far you are to it.
For example, astronauts that leave Earth and enter space can escape Earth's gravity.
Because the farther they get from Earth, the weaker the gravitational force becomes. They start to weigh less and...float.
The astronauts from the International Space Station don't feel gravity. They feel weightless (because they weigh less).
While at first zero-gravity might sound fun (imagine floating all day long), it comes with drawbacks. Astronauts in space have to make up for the lack of gravity and exercise daily to keep their muscles.
Want to experience zero-gravity yourself?
You don't have to go all the way to space to see what zero-gravity feels like.
Junior Astronaut has prepared a zero-gravity flight program just for you!
Guided by a highly trained astronaut crew, you can take off in a G-FORCE ONE and see what no-gravity feels like.
Maybe this will be the first step towards becoming an astronaut, or perhaps it will be just a tremendous fun adventure.
No matter the case, you'll hear yourself say with excitement: ooops, there goes gravity!