Hollywood Sci-fi movies have depicted several times where astronauts living in spaceships float in the air to reach different places in the ships. Why do they float in space? Does space have some powers or is it our Earth that prevents us from floating? Yes, it is our Earth’s special power to keep bound towards the surface. This is called Gravity.
So, today in this article we are going to know much more about this special force that enables us to live as we are living right now. We will know what gravity is, why gravity is important for us and What would happen to gravity if time stopped? So, without further ado, let us get straight into the matter!
What is gravity?
By definition, Gravity or gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which any two bodies with mass and energy – whether it be a planet, stars or any objects are attracted towards each other. It is believed that the concept of gravity was first discovered by Sir Isaac Newton when the incident of falling apple happened.
Gravity is one of the fundamental forces which forms this universe, alongside electromagnetism and weak and strong nuclear forces. Among all four forces, gravity is the one that is omnipresent in our experience. The other three forces were discovered quite recently in the gone-by centuries, but the evidence of gravity being a prominence has been from eminence.
It is visible in the falling raindrops, falling of fruits from trees and our movement on the surface. Before the invention of gravity, it was believed that the movement of people happened in the way because it was meant to be the same way but Newton helped debunk this view.
The concept of gravity made us realise that everything in this universe was attracted by every other object present. This helped the human race to answer several kinds of unanswered questions. Then came into existence, the famous Newton’s law of gravitation which said that:
“The force of gravitation between two objects in the universe is:
- Directly proportional to the product of the masses of both objects
- Inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
The formula for the above statement came out to be:
F = G*M1*M2
here G is the universal constant of gravitation R²
Is gravity powerful or not?
Gravity is the weakest force among all the fundamental forces. You might be thinking that if it is the weakest of all, how does it manage to keep everything to its surface? The main game arrives due to the difference in masses of objects in perspective.
If we talk about celestial bodies like planets, stars and galaxies, they have huge masses thus their gravitational forces are on a huge scale whereas gravitational forces between two common objects are negligible.
On the other hand, electromagnetic forces are strong enough to pull iron nails against the effect of gravity. Scientists suggest that gravitational forces are 10^40 times weaker than electromagnetic forces.
Albert Einstein was responsible for bringing a revolution in the understanding of gravity. His theory of general relativity brought about several changes. It showed that gravity arises from the curvature of space-time. This meant that even light rays are bent by extremely heavy objects.
Is Gravity still a mystery?
Even after 400 years of its discovery, gravity seems to be one of the biggest mysteries for scientists. It is still being employed to find out answers to several mysteries. Recently, scientists have been able to gather consequences of Einstein’s relativity – gravitational waves which are emitted when objects like a neutron star and black hole come in proximity.
In the 1960s, two astronomers also found that some stars at the edges of the galaxies were orbiting much faster than usual. This brought into existence something we call ‘Dark Matter’.
Why is gravity important?
Gravity is of utmost importance to everyone in this universe. Without gravity, living on Earth won’t be the same anymore.
- It is responsible for the movement of Earth and other planets around the Sun.
- It enables us to walk the way we walk now.
- Gravity keeps the different layers of Earth together. It is due to gravity that the Earth is still alive.
- Even the formation of stars takes place due to gravitational forces between large masses of hydrogen and helium in outer space.
- It enables the atmosphere to be bound around the surface of Earth.
- It keeps the water in water bodies instead of floating in the air.
What would happen if there will be no gravity?
Our fantasies say that when we see those movies in which astronauts fly in their spaceships due to zero gravity, we also want to experience that. But scientists say that our human bodies have adapted to living on Earth in presence of gravity. It is evident from the fact that astronomers lose a significant amount of bone mass and muscle strength and their sense of balance changes.
If gravity is absent, the count of RBC’s in our body falls, a condition called space anaemia. The immune system becomes weak and wounds take longer to heal. In this situation, things will keep moving in the air and continue moving in a straight line and move away from the surface of Earth.
Everything on the Earth’s surface like water in water bodies, atmosphere and other things would fly up in space. Eventually, our Earth won’t be able to hold itself and would break up into pieces. This is because the internal forces of Earth would explode up Earth.
What would be the consequences of the stoppage of time on gravity?
In the last article, we talked about time and what would happen if time stopped. If you want to know more about it, you can hop over to that article. What we didn’t tell you about there was its effects on gravity!
Think about the hypothetical situation when the time would stop. Everything would freeze up! Even if we assume that you are the only functional object, then also you won’t be able to breathe or move. Going to the next level, we assume that the atmosphere is flowing and thus you can see, but then arrives the bigger problem.
If, however, we can stop time, gravity would also stop. There will not be any gravity on Earth. This will have disastrous effects on Earth. Water bodies will be empty, no atmosphere would be there.
In the absence of gravity, we would all be just tumbling balls. Without an atmosphere, a significant reduction in pressure would be experienced. This would be so huge to break everyone’s eardrums. Even if time stopped for 5 seconds, everything of this would happen and we would not even realise what has happened because we won’t survive out of this situation.
Lots more information
Gravity is one of the most fundamental forces which often goes neglected. Its importance is not much realised by the common man. But it is the force that is allowing the Earth to be the Earth it is now! These hypothetical situations in which either gravity or time has stopped, depict how much these fundamental phenomena are necessary for the universe.
Next time, if you want to fly in a zero-gravity world, just think of the consequences and curb your curiosity over there. Although there are man-made environments where one can experience zero gravity. One can visit there to experience what it feels like being in zero gravity.
FAQ related to gravity
Question 1: Which planet has the highest gravity?
Question 2: Which planet has the weakest gravity?
Answer: among the existing planet, Mercury has the weakest gravity.
Question 3: Which place on Earth has the weakest gravity?
Answer: Mt. Nevado Huascaran in Peru has the lowest acceleration due to gravity on Earth.