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« Light Posting | Main | Get Out The Hankies »

Buzz in Las Vegas

I'll also be doing light posting. I'm having dinner and a ZEROG flight with Buzz Aldrin. There still appears to be some availability. If you can get to Vegas by 6:30 tonight, you can make the dinner and the ride prep starts tomorrow at one. The price is $8,900; it's more than the regular price of $3,500, but less than $144k for a flight with Stephen Hawking. At $3500 for 25 seconds * 12 parabolas at 0g is $700/minute. That's about a quarter the price per minute of a week in 0g on the International Space Station.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at November 02, 2007 03:29 PM
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And almost 50 times cheaper than the zero G time in Space Ship 2, which runs about $33,000 per minute.

This implies that the sub-orbital tourism guys should concentrate on the view, and not worry too much about floating around. I personally would be glued to the window, not wasting a second on something I could get better and cheaper from Zero-G.

Posted by sjv at November 2, 2007 07:38 PM

Higher quality ZEROG in Space Ship Two because it's all at once and it's not subject to expert, fine controls. If you are in vacuum and turn off the thrusters, there you are. The pilots in G-force one do an excellent job, but 3% off and you are floating to the top of the airplane like in a swimming pool. 3% off in the other direction and a 150 lb person still weighs 5 lbs and sinks to the bottom of the airplane like he has has a 10 lbs weight belt in a swimming pool.

Buzz Aldrin and Richard Garriott both said something interesting when I spoke to them (separately) about the best 0g analog to space. That is that neutral buoyancy under water is a very good analog for zero G. That's obviously more viscous than air. All objects that need to be manipulated as if in zero G need to be made neutral buoyant and nearly uniform density to maintain non-orientation.

There's room to invent an air pressurizer/depressurizer that can be used to maintain volume of inflated air of itself + your lungs. That would eliminate the 2nd order effect of your breathing on underwater neutral buoyancy. For a 100 kg person, it would need to displace 4 kg of water or 4 liters. Extra lead weight could balance that out.

For higher quality analogs, lower viscosity would be desirable. 1/4 ethanol might do that--at least it's less dense.

Getting the center of gravity right on the person is not so crucial for aspects of zero g other than turning upside down.

Such an analog experience could be much cheaper than a plane flight.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at November 3, 2007 10:08 PM

I've seen a proposal to use pressurized xenon as the floatation medium. Unfortunately you wouldn't want to breath it, as at the required pressure for specific gravity ~ 1 it would act as a strong anesthetic. And, it's much too expensive. :)

Posted by Paul Dietz at November 4, 2007 08:48 AM

" That is that neutral buoyancy under water is a very good analog for zero G. That's obviously more viscous than air."

And in water your body still trends toward orienting itself along the horizontal or vertical to the center of the earth due to the uneven distribution of mass and uneven displacement.

When you are neutrally bouyant under water, you are on average neutrally bouyant but some parts of you body have a slight tendency to float others have a slight tendency to sink.

Posted by Mike Puckett at November 4, 2007 09:05 AM

Having a hard suit that stays the same volume upon breathing would get better neutral buoyancy as would weighting the suit to offset the spatial density variation.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at November 5, 2007 09:37 AM

Buzz Aldrin? Who cares, when you get to fly with Mario!

Posted by Brian Lutz at November 5, 2007 10:11 PM

It's true--I did get to fly with Mario. Wii.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at November 6, 2007 12:17 PM

The same volume on breathing is easy to get, just use a closed-circuit rebreather as your exhaust goes into a counter-lung.

The legs vs torso thing is trickier.

Posted by Mike Puckett at November 7, 2007 04:03 PM

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