Super-genius Stephen Hawking experienced zero-gravity, and reportedly loved every minute of it:
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floated free in zero gravity Thursday, becoming the first person with a disability to have the experience. The zero-gravity flight in a modified jet creates the experience of microgravity during 25-second plunges — called parabolas — over the Atlantic Ocean.
Hawking, paralyzed by a progressive neurological disorder, said afterward through an electronic device:
“It was amazing. The zero-G part was wonderful and the full-G part was no problem. I could have gone on and on. Space, here I come.”
A doctor and three nurses monitored Hawking throughout the Zero Gravity Corp. flight. The scientist floated in the air, free of his wheelchair and electronic communication gear for the first time in 40 years. The jet’s interior is padded to protect the weightless fliers and is equipped with cameras to record their adventure. After the jet reached its proper altitude, Hawking’s assistants lifted him out of his seat and laid him on his back in the front of the cabin for the first plunge. Urged on by Hawking’s smiles after the first parabola, they did seven more, Diamandis said afterward.
Said Hawking: “Many people have asked me why I am taking this flight. I am doing it for many reasons… First of all, 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. I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space.”