Friday, April 27, 2007
Stephen Hawking flies weightless
Zero Gravity Corporation, the private company that operates the zero gravity simulating plane has offered a free ride to the famed Cambridge professor Stephen Hawking
The 65-year-old scientist, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a degenerative disease , said he wanted to make the flight to build awareness for the importance of space exploration.
"I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers," Hawking said before his flight.
With four doctors and two nurses on hand, the astrophysicist took upto an altitude of about 24,000ft above ground. The plane, a specially modified Boeing 727 jet, hikes steeply towards the sky, then arches over to plunge downward. The descent temporarily lifts the bonds of gravity.
The professor's verdict after the flight which was evident from his broad grin before he twitched the controls of his computer, : "I could have gone on and on."
He had no problem with the experience.