#Extant E1, E2: Float On


On the first two episodes of CBS's Extant, astronauts float inside of the show's space station. How is this possible?


Floating happens because the space station is traveling extremely fast (about 5 miles a second) while constantly falling towards the Earth due to gravity.  The only force on the station is gravity towards the Earth, but its "sideways" speed of 5 miles a second is just enough so that it balances out the Earth's pull and the station remains in orbit around the planet. Since the station feels the full effect of a force (gravity), anything inside of station is free of that force. Thus, weightlessness! 

As scary as it is to imagine, if you were in a falling elevator, you would also experience weightlessness! All of the force is on the elevator and you are inside of it, free of that force.  Now imagine that elevator falling in space, but also being pushed at 5 miles a second and ... bingo! Space station!

For more info, please check out Universe Today.

For the live tweet of episode 2 of Extant, check out the Storify below.

#Cosmos E4: There Is a Light That Shines

(I live tweet Cosmos every Sunday. For all of my Cosmos recaps, please click here)

Episode 4 of Fox's Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson focuses on the Herschel family of scientists, Einstein's theory of Relativity, and the speed of light as nature's fundamental constant.

Patrick Stewart voiced astronomer William Herschel, who was one of the main scientists in this episode. William, and his son John, contributed to our understanding of stars and the light that they give off. Light from distant objects takes a while to reach us on earth, so the light that we see is very old - we are effectively looking back in time. The light from stars that we see are probably already dead.

The only issue I had with this episode was that they didn't mention Caroline Herschel, who was an amazing astronomer in her own right. Otherwise, this was my favorite so far in the series.

To see the light in a different path, check out Common's hit single "The Light" from the Like Water for Chocolate album (2000).

For more, check out the Storify below!

Gravity + Neil deGrasse Tyson = Awesome

I like space. I like movies. I like space movies. Contact is one of my favorite movies of all time, and introduced me to Carl Sagan. Moon is a lesser known flick that I've recommended to many folks. And Apollo 13 was better than most Tom Hanks movies.

I saw Gravity this weekend and it left a huge impression on me.  The acting and dialogue was good, but the breathtaking portions involved little to no dialogue and facisnating shots of the Earth, stars, floating astronauts, and satellites that may or may not survive.  

There was even a Shareef in the movie! Ok, a Sharif.  Close enough. 

The movie was extremely fun, and there were some great scientifically accurate parts (i.e. sound can't carry in space so there is no sound). With that said, it is a movie, and some things are exaggerated for truth.  Everyone's favorite astrophysicist Neil deGrasse tyson does his best job to ruin the party.


Neil just can't help being a scientist.  I don't blame him at all. I couldn't even bring myself to criticize the movie though because I LOVED it.