Have you ever wondered why you always fall down and not upwards? You might be thinking, “Yeah, that’s because of gravity. We aren’t that dumb.” But do you ever think, why do we float in space? Is there gravity in space? Now you might get an urge to say the words “Zero Gravity”. Well, that’s where you might start getting off track.
Let me break it to you, there’s nothing like “Zero Gravity”. We have yet to achieve that. Even if you are floating, or lost in space, you are still experiencing some gravity. Well, that’s the reason there is something called a “Universal Gravitational Constant”. Let’s explore this concept of gravity in depth. We would also look at some “cool” yet scientific possibilities related to gravity.
1. The Governance of the Solar System
“If there’s no gravity in space, then how do planets orbit around the sun?” That’s a famous argument given for the absence of zero gravity. The idea behind this is very logical. There’s something known as “Gravitational force between two bodies”. It’s directly proportional to the mass of both objects and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Well, that simply means, that to experience a significant gravitational force, either the distance should be less between them, or the masses should be large.
In the case of planets and the sun, the Sun is much larger and heavier. Also, the distance between the sun and the planets is relatively less. That’s why the planets orbit around the sun due to the gravitational pull of the sun. As you move away from the gravitational pull of the sun, you start feeling gravity much less. Then how come there would be zero gravity in space? Just ponder upon it!
2. The Philosophy of Gravity
Some things are common between gravity and our day-to-day life. After all, they both are the very reality that we are experiencing every day. Our lives are defined by the daily chores and activities that we perform. The food we eat, the books we study, the people we meet, that’s what life is.
2.1 Nature’s Reality
Nature is no different than our lives. Moreover, it teaches us many important lessons in our lives. Probably, at the pinnacle of these is Consistency. Imagine one day the sun decides not to shine. Imagine the earth stopped revolving for a second. We would all die in a fraction of a second. More often than not, it’s nature that taught us the principles of life. It’s nature that is governing us. All the forces of nature are the reason why we exist in the first place.
2.2 Gravity’s Correlation
Gravity shares many things in common with our lives. Just like the gravitational force reduces with distance, an increase in distance with someone seriously affects our relationship with them. On the other hand, if we truly care about them, then irrespective of distance, the great masses of good intentions will dominate. That’s exactly how gravity between the planets and the sun works.
However, if even one of the two holds a significant grudge in their mind, things won’t work out. It would just be similar to the case of gravity pull between a human and earth. As our distance from the center of the earth increases, so does the gravitational pull. Hence, a human with negligible relative mass compared to the sun feels in a so-called “Zero gravity”. That thought is worth wrapping your head around.
3. The Mysterious “Quantum Gravity”
Until today, quantum gravity has boggled the minds of scientists all over the world. It deals with the uncertain and mysterious world of quantum mechanics. It’s relatively less complicated to study the things we can see with our bare eyes. But when it comes to dealing with something as small as a quark, things take a complicated turn.
Even after the development of quantum mechanics, no theory can explain the quantum effect of gravity. The theory that came close to explaining was “General relativity” given by Albert Einstein. But it has its limitations too. It failed the distortion of space-time near the black hole.
Also, it wasn’t able to explain the dark matter that constituents about more than 90 percent of the whole universe. It’s believed that the quantum effects of gravity occur at a scale even less than 10−48 m. That’s why it’s not that easy to understand the effects. Even today many theories try to explain quantum gravity. Most of them are thought experiments without any mathematics to back them up. Therefore, they are regarded as incomplete.
4. The Infinite Realm of Possibilities
Imagine living in a world where humanity has understood the concept of “Quantum gravity”. The origin of the universe just after the beginning would be known. The formation of dark matter and knowing about its constituents would just be a click away on the internet. Most importantly, the high-energy events and singularities such as black holes, would be completely understood. Our civilization as a whole would become a high-level civilization. Let us look at the infinite possibilities that would become real after understanding quantum gravity.
4.1 Enhanced Detection
Ever wondered why earthquakes can’t be predicted with the utmost accuracy? Well, that’s because of the inability of our devices to detect the almost negligible cracks in tectonic plates. But, once we understand the concept of quantum gravity, it will become a reality. As the quantum waves are expected to be less than the 13th order of Planck’s length, they would detect even a negligible disturbance. This would save thousands of lives and millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure.
4.2 Infinite Energy
The quantum effect of gravity is the last bracket to fill in “The theory of everything”. We would be able to find the most fundamental building block of all the things in this universe. This would in turn lead us to understand the very high-energy events in our cosmic universe.
Maybe, the huge amount of energy released in a supernova explosion would help us to understand how to create high-energy explosions. This would help us to create huge amounts of energy which would in turn help our spaceships travel the vast length of the universe. Maybe finally, intergalactic travel would not just be a sci-fi fantasy.
4.3 Hidden Wormholes
The idea of a wormhole has boggled the minds of physicists for a long time. The very idea of wrapping up space-time is a mystery in itself. Einstein’s general relativity allows the existence of wormholes. But they are not yet seen in the cosmic universe. Once we understand the quantum effects of gravity, we will understand what wormholes are.
This would enable us to detect one in the cosmic universe. Once detected, it would take humanity way ahead in the scale of civilization. Without spending so much fuel, we would go from one end of the universe to the opposite end in just a few seconds. Or maybe we could build a warp drive. Who knows what the future has for us?
4.4 Black Hole
Most of you might have seen the “‘Interstellar” movie. It takes a deep dive into the concepts of weird science fiction. One of them was “The Black Hole”. It is shown when the protagonist falls into the black hole, he experiences the fourth dimension.
Well, this is surely pure science fiction cause a black hole is a singularity. You would disintegrate and cease to exist. But, in reality, the center of the black hole has very little length and very high energy. But once we understand the quantum gravitational waves, we will be able to understand the black hole completely. This would help us in knowing what is inside a black hole. It would uncover many mysteries that this universe hides in it!
5. Is There Gravity in Space? Conclusion
Firstly, gravity is more diverse than we think. It’s not just responsible for the weight that we feel on earth. It is the basic building block of the cosmic universe. Yet, the “quantum effects of gravity” are still unknown to mankind and an ever-prevailing mystery.
Secondly, once understood, quantum gravity can change how we perceive the cosmic universe. Day-to-day phenomena in life would get a completely new outlook. There would be another type of wave or particle for the whole world. That would be the “Graviton”. Though still hypothetical, it would uncover many mysteries. Lastly, never rule out anything until and unless proven so. It might be hiding beneath the mask, a world full of opportunities.