Is It Possible for an Object to Escape the Influence of Gravity While on Earth?

iStock
iStock

Is it possible for any object not to be under the influence of gravity while on Earth?C Stuart Hardwick:

No.

No object can escape the influence of gravity anywhere in the universe, as far as we know.

It is, however, possible for an object to escape certain effects of gravity under certain circumstances. Airplanes, for example, escape the acceleration of gravity by constantly expending energy to climb against it. I do it by pressing the electrons in the outer shells of the molecules of my shoe leather against those of the sidewalk.

Skydivers can do something pretty interesting by donning their wind-resistant gear and floating above a giant fan.

Mythbusters did essentially the same thing with a penny and an adjustable blower:

And of course, ships and balloons overcome the pull of gravity via buoyancy:

Astronauts escape more—but not all—effects of gravity by coasting away from the Earth in a straight line at exactly the speed they are falling toward it. This is what we call “being in orbit.” The same thing can be achieved in an aircraft by carefully diving toward the ground along at exactly the speed of acceleration due to gravity. Pulling up after a few seconds is highly recommended.

But all these remain under the influence of gravity, and would remain so even if the Earth weren’t here, because there are plenty of other objects, such as the Sun, which also originate their own far-reaching gravitational fields.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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100 Fascinating Facts About Earth

The best Spaceball.
The best Spaceball.
NASA

Did you know that there’s a place in the South Pacific Ocean called Point Nemo that’s farther from land than any other point on Earth? So far, in fact, that the closest humans are usually astronauts aboard the International Space Station. (And by the way: The map you’re about to look for Point Nemo on might not be entirely accurate; a certain amount of distortion occurs when trying to depict a 3D planet on a 2D surface.)

In this all-new episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is journeying to the center of the Earth, and visiting its oceans, its atmosphere, and even space, in search of 100 facts about our endlessly fascinating planet.

The subjects that fall under the umbrella of “facts about Earth” are nearly as expansive as Earth itself. Geology, biology, astronomy, and cartography, are all fair game—and those are just a few of the many -ologies, -onomies, and -ographies you’ll learn about below. 

Press play to find out more Earth-shattering facts, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for more fact-filled videos here.