Dr. Hawking’s wild ride

The New York Times and MSNBC report that Stephen Hawking will get to experience weightlessness on a Zero-G aircraft flight on April 26. Hawking, who eventually hopes to fly into space on a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight, is looking forward to the experience: “As someone who has studied gravity and black holes all of my life, I am excited to experience, firsthand, weightlessness and a zero-gravity environment,” he said in a statement.

One particular concern will be his health and the stresses put on his body during both the zero-g phases of the flight and the corresponding high-g portions of the flight parabolas. “I’m not worried about the zero gravity section, but the high-G part will be difficult,” he tells the Times. His flight will “probably” be shorter than a typical Zero-G flight, according to the paper, and he will have doctors and medical monitoring equipment on the flight with him. Zero-G is also donating additional seats on the flight to various charities for them to auction off as fundraisers.

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