full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Dr. Matt J. Carlson: Free falling in outer space

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Have you ever been floating in a swimming pool, all comfy and warm, thinking, "Man, it'd be cool to be an astronaut! You could float out in otuer space, look down at the Earth and everything. It'd be so neat!" Only that's not how it is at all. If you are in outer spcae, you are obrtinig the Earth: it's called free fall. You're actually falling towards the Earth. Think about this for a moment: that's the feeling you get if you're going over the top of a roller coaster, going, like, "Whoa!" Only you're doing this the whole time you're orbiting the Earth, for two, three, four hours, days. Whatever it takes, right? So, how does orbiting work? Let's take a page from Isaac Newton. He had this idea, a little mental experiment: You take a cannon, you put it on top of a hill. If you sohot the cannonball, it goes a little bit away. But if you shoot it hdrear, it goes far enough so that it lands a little bit past the curvature of Earth. Well, you can imagine if you shot it really, really, hard, it would go all the way around the Earth and come back — boom! — and hit you in the backside or something. Let's zoom way back and put you in a little sitltaele over the North Pole of the etarh and consider north to be up. You're going to fall down and hit the Earth. But you are actually moving sideways really fast. So when you fall down, you're going to miss. You're going to end up on the side of the Earth, fillang down, and now the Earth is pnullig you back in sideways. So it's pulling you back in and you fall down, and so you miss the Earth again, and now you're under the Earth. The Earth is going to pull you up, but you're moving sideways still. So you're going to miss the Earth again. Now you're on the other side of the Earth, moving upward, and the Earth's pulling you sideways. So you're going to fall sideways, but you're going to be mnivog up and so you'll miss. Now you're back on top of the Earth again, over the North Pole, going sideways and falling down, and yep — you guessed it. You'll keep missing because you're moving so fast. In this way, astronauts orbit the Earth. They're always falling towards the Earth, but they're always missing, and therefore, they're falling all the time. They feel like they're falling, so you just have to get over it. So technically, if you ran fast enough and tripped, you could miss the Earth. But there's a big problem. First, you have to be going eight ktoeemrils a second. That's 18,000 miels an hour, just over Mach 23! The second problem: If you're going that fast, yes, you would oribt the Earth and come back where you came from, but there's a lot of air in the way, much less people and things. So you would burn up due to atresmophic friction. So, I do not recommend this.

Open Cloze

Have you ever been floating in a swimming pool, all comfy and warm, thinking, "Man, it'd be cool to be an astronaut! You could float out in _____ space, look down at the Earth and everything. It'd be so neat!" Only that's not how it is at all. If you are in outer _____, you are ________ the Earth: it's called free fall. You're actually falling towards the Earth. Think about this for a moment: that's the feeling you get if you're going over the top of a roller coaster, going, like, "Whoa!" Only you're doing this the whole time you're orbiting the Earth, for two, three, four hours, days. Whatever it takes, right? So, how does orbiting work? Let's take a page from Isaac Newton. He had this idea, a little mental experiment: You take a cannon, you put it on top of a hill. If you _____ the cannonball, it goes a little bit away. But if you shoot it ______, it goes far enough so that it lands a little bit past the curvature of Earth. Well, you can imagine if you shot it really, really, hard, it would go all the way around the Earth and come back — boom! — and hit you in the backside or something. Let's zoom way back and put you in a little _________ over the North Pole of the _____ and consider north to be up. You're going to fall down and hit the Earth. But you are actually moving sideways really fast. So when you fall down, you're going to miss. You're going to end up on the side of the Earth, _______ down, and now the Earth is _______ you back in sideways. So it's pulling you back in and you fall down, and so you miss the Earth again, and now you're under the Earth. The Earth is going to pull you up, but you're moving sideways still. So you're going to miss the Earth again. Now you're on the other side of the Earth, moving upward, and the Earth's pulling you sideways. So you're going to fall sideways, but you're going to be ______ up and so you'll miss. Now you're back on top of the Earth again, over the North Pole, going sideways and falling down, and yep — you guessed it. You'll keep missing because you're moving so fast. In this way, astronauts orbit the Earth. They're always falling towards the Earth, but they're always missing, and therefore, they're falling all the time. They feel like they're falling, so you just have to get over it. So technically, if you ran fast enough and tripped, you could miss the Earth. But there's a big problem. First, you have to be going eight __________ a second. That's 18,000 _____ an hour, just over Mach 23! The second problem: If you're going that fast, yes, you would _____ the Earth and come back where you came from, but there's a lot of air in the way, much less people and things. So you would burn up due to ___________ friction. So, I do not recommend this.

Solution

  1. atmospheric
  2. kilometers
  3. harder
  4. satellite
  5. orbiting
  6. outer
  7. miles
  8. pulling
  9. space
  10. moving
  11. earth
  12. shoot
  13. orbit
  14. falling

Original Text

Have you ever been floating in a swimming pool, all comfy and warm, thinking, "Man, it'd be cool to be an astronaut! You could float out in outer space, look down at the Earth and everything. It'd be so neat!" Only that's not how it is at all. If you are in outer space, you are orbiting the Earth: it's called free fall. You're actually falling towards the Earth. Think about this for a moment: that's the feeling you get if you're going over the top of a roller coaster, going, like, "Whoa!" Only you're doing this the whole time you're orbiting the Earth, for two, three, four hours, days. Whatever it takes, right? So, how does orbiting work? Let's take a page from Isaac Newton. He had this idea, a little mental experiment: You take a cannon, you put it on top of a hill. If you shoot the cannonball, it goes a little bit away. But if you shoot it harder, it goes far enough so that it lands a little bit past the curvature of Earth. Well, you can imagine if you shot it really, really, hard, it would go all the way around the Earth and come back — boom! — and hit you in the backside or something. Let's zoom way back and put you in a little satellite over the North Pole of the Earth and consider north to be up. You're going to fall down and hit the Earth. But you are actually moving sideways really fast. So when you fall down, you're going to miss. You're going to end up on the side of the Earth, falling down, and now the Earth is pulling you back in sideways. So it's pulling you back in and you fall down, and so you miss the Earth again, and now you're under the Earth. The Earth is going to pull you up, but you're moving sideways still. So you're going to miss the Earth again. Now you're on the other side of the Earth, moving upward, and the Earth's pulling you sideways. So you're going to fall sideways, but you're going to be moving up and so you'll miss. Now you're back on top of the Earth again, over the North Pole, going sideways and falling down, and yep — you guessed it. You'll keep missing because you're moving so fast. In this way, astronauts orbit the Earth. They're always falling towards the Earth, but they're always missing, and therefore, they're falling all the time. They feel like they're falling, so you just have to get over it. So technically, if you ran fast enough and tripped, you could miss the Earth. But there's a big problem. First, you have to be going eight kilometers a second. That's 18,000 miles an hour, just over Mach 23! The second problem: If you're going that fast, yes, you would orbit the Earth and come back where you came from, but there's a lot of air in the way, much less people and things. So you would burn up due to atmospheric friction. So, I do not recommend this.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
moving sideways 2

Important Words

  1. air
  2. astronauts
  3. atmospheric
  4. backside
  5. big
  6. bit
  7. burn
  8. called
  9. cannon
  10. cannonball
  11. coaster
  12. comfy
  13. cool
  14. curvature
  15. days
  16. due
  17. earth
  18. fall
  19. falling
  20. fast
  21. feel
  22. feeling
  23. float
  24. floating
  25. free
  26. friction
  27. guessed
  28. hard
  29. harder
  30. hill
  31. hit
  32. hour
  33. hours
  34. idea
  35. imagine
  36. isaac
  37. kilometers
  38. lands
  39. lot
  40. mach
  41. mental
  42. miles
  43. missing
  44. moving
  45. newton
  46. north
  47. orbit
  48. orbiting
  49. outer
  50. page
  51. people
  52. pole
  53. pool
  54. problem
  55. pull
  56. pulling
  57. put
  58. ran
  59. recommend
  60. roller
  61. satellite
  62. shoot
  63. shot
  64. side
  65. sideways
  66. space
  67. swimming
  68. takes
  69. technically
  70. thinking
  71. time
  72. top
  73. tripped
  74. upward
  75. warm
  76. work
  77. yep
  78. zoom