# Gravity and Weightlessness are NOT What You Expected

When we try to imagine the physics behind what exactly we see when we light our stoves, our pilot lights, or our campfires, it is often far beyond what the human mind can easily comprehend. Pondering the Mathematical Research Letters would be of little use to the average person, but of great value to someone specializing in the dynamics of movement, combustion and heat distribution (thermodynamics), as exemplified in the preparation of a rocket fuel cell in preparation for launch. The amount of combustion required to get a certain amount of mass into the air is generally thought of as thrust, and in order to get a huge space shuttle into the orbit of the earth, a lot of thrust, and a LOT of fire is required.

Calculations have to be incredibly specific, based not only upon the weight of the item being sent into space, but mathematicians must also factor in the density of the materials of the holding tanks, the melting temperatures of any surface coming into close contact with the literal explosions, and the time necessary to get the rocket out of the reach of huge amounts of gravity (the more gravity pulling on the rocket, the more fuel is needed to produce the thrust necessary to move past it). Mathematics is a given when considering the minute measurements that need to be taken to get the shuttle in just the right part of the earth’s orbit. And while many people think that people in space are “weightless” and that there is no gravity, in fact the phenomenon is explained quite easily by mathematics. Objects within the earth's orbit are actually in a constant state of freefall. Gravity from the earth is still pulling on all of them (which is why they have not floated away into space), but it is the fact that the earth is spherical that keeps them in essence, “continually falling”.

One way to imagine it is envisioning a boxer trying to drive a left hook into the jaw of his opponent. The opponent turns his head just in time, and the fist flies past. All of the objects in its orbit try to crash into earth, but because it is round, they continually fall “past” the curve of it and continue in a straight line it, with earth’s gravity pulling them back once again to the same continued pattern of near misses.