Thursday, September 16, 2004


U.S. company offers public chance to experience weightlessness

After years of effort, the first commercial tour service to offer zero-gravity airplane flights in the United States is finally open for business. For just under $3,000, regular folks can get a tamed-down taste of what astronauts feel on NASA's "Vomit Comet."

Passengers aboard the modified Boeing 727-200 jet will experience weightlessness for about 25 seconds at a time, courtesy of the plane's special parabolic flight path. The physics behind the experience is analogous to what happens during a roller-coaster ride or a fast elevator descent. But inside the jet's padded passenger cabin, fliers are able to tumble in the air or do a "Superman" fly-through, similar to the acrobatics performed on the international space station.

This is the way Hollywood has always created the weightlessness sequences in films like Apollo 13.

I've read about this before, and it really does look like fun. One guy I saw interviewed on TV after a flight had a completely rapturous look on his face; he could barely speak, his eyes sort of bright and unfocussed. That was ten times better than sex, is what he was thinking; of this I have abolutely no doubt.

So, naturally, I think: why not take folks on a tour of the Mysterium Tremendum of God? Why not some sort of venture, probably altruistic rather than capitalistic, to work at getting the same sort of effect through mysticism? I'm sure it would be "parabolic" also. And I have to believe it would be at least twice as good as Zero-G - which makes the M.T. of G. twenty times better than sex, minimum! And it's free, and available anytime.

Well, something to think about, anyway, as I finish The Cloud of Unknowing. If I ever do, that is. (That is one seriously boring book, I must say, considering the topic.)

Religious zero-grav....

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