“Everything every day here on Earth is based on gravity, and you don’t realize it until you don’t have it anymore.”-Peggy Whitson (An American Astronaut)
The Apple that hit the ground in front of Newton, not only made him ponder over the phenomenon that caused the apple to come downwards and not upwards. It even compelled him to conceptualize something that was true for that small apple hitting the floor, and even for the moon moving around the Earth, for the Earth revolving around the sun.
The list would go on and without a doubt, would amaze you. A tiny fridge magnet defies the gravity of an entire planet, imagine that!
Come down from across the never-ending universe, to our Solar System, and down into our own body systems. Gravity holds things in place.
Let’s make things simple here, just like they do at Junior School.
What They Teach You In School-
Gravity is an attractive force between two objects, and this attraction is dependent upon the mass (not weight) of that object. The greater the mass, greater the gravity & greater the gravity, greater the pulling effect.
Gravity doesn’t let us float away from the ground we walk upon.
Gravity doesn’t let the ball you hit with your bat, fly away, never to return.
Gravity always makes fruits fall on the ground and not up in the air.
If you want to surpass Earth’s gravitational pull, fly at a speed of about 11km/second upwards and escape into space, that’s what rockets do.
- Gravity gives us tides in the ocean, a boon to the Ships, and with ocean currents, our climate gets regulated.
- Gravity, most importantly holds our atmosphere, the air we breathe in, and the various essential gases for sustaining life processes.
Apart from a very thin slice of our population, a majority of us do not imagine a life without gravity, Unless we belong to a group of Astronauts.
Wonder How Helpless We’d Be Without Gravity?
How things would turn out to be, without our fictitious friend?
Gravity is pretty interesting! Books have fallen short of words to completely explain it. We don’t know what Gravity is, in any fundamental way – we only know how it behaves. Therefore, just to give you a small teaser of the bigger picture, which gravitation is if we’ll switch ‘Gravity’ off from Earth for a few seconds, say 5 secs,
things would go haywire.
Our Earth rotates at a speed of 16,00km/hr. Without Gravity, it’ll throw objects at a random pace. You won’t be just floating merrily. Ever tried the ride ‘Breakdance’ at an amusement park, Without your seat belts? Do Not!
- The Earth is a sphere, not a perfect one with lumps and bumps (the Mountains and trenches.) It rotates with 1600km/hr speed at its bulging equator and just 0.00008km/hr at flattened poles. Hence, places along the equator would feel the strongest jolts without Gravity.
- Winds Would Exceed the speed of the strongest Hurricanes ever recorded.
- Five seconds without Gravity, we could fly a distance of about 2.3 km. Doesn’t sound like a jetpack joyride, right?
- Objects (no Matter how big or heavy) animals, people, including trees will be uprooted along with soil debris, & rivers, lakes, and oceans will be thrown mid-air.
- Atmospheric gases like the oxygen we breathe and other gases are held as a blanket around the Earth due to gravity. With zero Gravity, they’d drift into the outer-space.
Within five seconds, there’d be a rapid drop in air pressure and might lead to organ failures. Our Blood Pressure would surpass the air pressure around and would force outwards through our ears and nose.
From inside the core up to the crust, ‘Expansion’ would be observed. A five-second halt won’t cause an explosion however, big, very big quakes and massive eruptions of Volcanoes would cause large scale devastation,
gulping down big cities.
Earth Systems: the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, all would face the wrath of this catastrophe. Terrifying? Yes. A complete reboot to each planetary system will happen, much more devastating than Thanos’ Snap.
Thus, a lot can happen in five seconds if gravity ceased to behave the way it does.
Remember and cherish how special we are, with so many of nature’s gifts around us. Although a part of something much bigger than us, we have a small role in this universe yet we’re special, and like other boons, we have from nature, Gravity is a friend!