After seeing a discussion about this between Gravity star Sandra Bullock and astronaut Cady Coleman, Karen Nyberg, who is currently on board the International Space Station, released a video showing just how little it takes:
One thing to note is that the astronauts on the station don't actually experience zero gravity. When they're up in orbit, they still feel nearly the full force of gravity that we feel down here on the Earth's surface. The station and everything on it still fall towards the Earth due to that gravity, but the station is going around in its orbit so fast that it's constantly missing the Earth. This puts the astronauts into free-fall, and they experience weightlessness or 'zero-g'.
[ More Geekquinox: Take a balloon ride to near-space, only $75,000 a ticket ]
The proteins in a strand of hair hold together pretty well (better than nylon thread), but it really doesn't take much force to snap one of them in two. Yet Nyberg is able to send herself floating across the inside of the station with less than that (since the strand apparently didn't break).
I have to commend those who work in space. The experience must be absolutely amazing, but the care the astronauts need to take, with their every move and motion, must make it mentally exhausting sometimes.
Geek out with the latest in science and weather.
Follow @ygeekquinox on Twitter!
- Karen Nyberg