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NASA Space Science

Astronaut to Run the Boston Marathon From Space 176

BostonBehindTheScenes writes "American astronaut Sunita Williams will run 26.2 miles on a treadmill on Patriot's Day (April 16th for those of you outside of Massachusetts) while runners on the ground will compete in the 111th Boston Marathon, according to this New Scientist article. And yes, she is an actual registered participant who qualified by finishing among the top 100 women in the Houston Marathon in 2006. NASA's press release touts this as yet another space first."
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Astronaut to Run the Boston Marathon From Space

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  • Patriots' Day (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2007 @07:42AM (#18541467)
    For the unaware, Patriots' Day commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord which are considered to be the first skirmishes of the American Revolution, a conflict that was actually fought be people generally considered to be patriots.

    We in Massachusetts have been observing this day long before a certain President co-opted the name to add a bit of jingo to the commemoration of a certain day in September.
  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @08:20AM (#18541683)
    It's called zero gee by the people who fly people into space and refers to the acceleration of the astronaut's frame of reference. Freefall without rotation is a zero gee environment. Good enough for me even though technically the astronauts live in a 10^-3 or 10^-4 gee environment due to tidal forces and the mass of the ISS.
  • Re:Pork. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @08:42AM (#18541869) Homepage
    Parent post didn't mention the US at any point. Or does the fact that it might be a european taxpayer make it all ok?
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @09:15AM (#18542145) Homepage
    In this context, the unit "G" refers to the amount of force applied to the body by the craft it's in (jet, rocket, centrifuge, roller coaster, etc), not a measure of gravitational attraction or acceleration. (Save the pendantry for topics in which you are better informed than your peers.)
  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @09:37AM (#18542385) Journal
    I think it's pretty clear that the OP is well aware that the spacecraft is not beyond the range of influence of the Earth's gravity (which is infinite, after all).

    At the same time though, in General Relativity a gravitational field is equivalent to an accelerating frame of reference (or something like that...), so the sum total gravitational effects experienced in the spacecraft's frame of reference is near zero.

    It could be argued that "zero gravity" is misleading as it will help perpetuate the common myth that weightlessness is due to being beyond the Earth's gravity, rather than it being cancelled out due to the acceleration, but nonetheless, that's a term used to refer to it, and I think it's clear that the OP wasn't misunderstanding the differences.

    I'd question that labelling it as "scientifically inaccurate" constitutes POV, especially when it is backed up only by one person, who is described as a journalist and historian, not a scientist.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"