When gravity spoils your day!


It all started the other night when I was watching Tom Hanks famous series “From the Earth to the Moon”. In the NASA committee meeting prior to Apollo 7 launch one sentence caught my mind “Why are we talking about 7 days and that too in earth hours. You people have no idea how fast time goes in space”. While time being a relative term for ‘unfolding of events’ or I can say a local benchmark for local events. But things get trickier when dealing with different time scenarios.

To approach this question in a systematic manner I will start with human brain and its interaction with time and gravity. Gravity is the entity that plays with time (or influencing events to unfold) very dearly. Few points to consider when dealing with time dilation. Firstly, human brain, from the birth get acclimatized with basic earth characteristics – earth gravity & earth time. While gravity influences time, it will be much easier to explain that way. Secondly, the velocity of the body when looked from an observer point of view.

Now lets talk about gravity influencing time. As I mentioned before time is a relative term to indicate unfolding of an event. For example, there is an event of walking on a 100 meter ramp inclined at 45 degrees. And Mr. X takes 10 mins (Earth time) to walk up the ramp when placed in Earth scenario (Gravity pulls Mr X down as he struggles to walk up the ramp). If the ramp is placed in space (out of Earth’s gravitational influence Mr. X will take 1 min (Earth time) to walk up, perhaps he can jump or slide across the ramp, since Mr. X is free from gravitational pull. So, ‘Unfolding of events’ happens much faster when gravity is less there by giving an illusion of “Time goes faster in space”.

Q: If time goes faster in space, will human beings die early when in space?

A: Yes, when recording in Earth time & observing from Earth. As I explained before, Human brain has major role to play when we talk about time. When living an entire lifetime in space, human brain will acclimatize with the time setting & zero gravity (or different gravity value). Finally, in local space time setting, human being will live for 80 years achieving same set of goals. BUT, when looking from earth that 80 years will look like 10 earth years. So, Mr X when comes back to earth after 10 earth years will be 80 earth years old & have achieved (E.g building a Pyramid) a lot as compared with normal earth people.

Same effect of time dilation was backed by Einstein’s general relativity theory.

I still don’t have any answers to questions like: How human brain understands gravity? How human brain changes its activity when put in different gravity scenarios? Is my understanding of time illusion is correct?

It will be much appreciated if anyone can share his/her view on this matter. Gravity has successfully spoiled my day, haha!


Revisiting the ‘Pale Blue Dot’


“I am not sure how to put this post across to people with framed mind. I am not sure how to convince people that we live in a fragile little speck. I am not sure how to influence extremists with communal harmony or reach out to religious heads and show them the reality of universe. But deep inside the faith of being the only intelligent creation must remain strong.”

The pale blue dot, that we live in must not tear apart on its own footprint. The pale blue dot that we call the only home, the oasis that we ever know, the realm that we thrive to dominate, the cocoon with no replacement, must be preserved because beyond this ‘pale blue dot’ we have nowhere else to go. As I read through the quotes of Carl Sagan carefully, I pose few questions to myself and every citizen of this blue marble:

” All the rage, the anger, the hatred, the fight for superiority, the fight for dominance, the clannish thoughts, the extremist thoughts; all the fame, the power, the class, the poverty – will these all help us find another home when the ‘pale blue dot’ exists no more?”

The pale blue dot – This is where we make our stand

Look again at that dot!

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us,

On it everyone you love, everyone you know,

everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.

The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions,

ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager,

every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization,

every king and peasant, every young couple in love,

every mother and father, hopeful child,

inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals,

every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,”

every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.

Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants

of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner,

how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another,

how fervent their hatreds

Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors

in glory and triumph,

they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturing, our imagined self-importance,

the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe,

are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

In our obscurity, in all this vastness,

there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.

There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.

Visit, yes. Settle, not yet.

Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.

To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another,

and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known

“the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known”