How to Move in Zero Gravity

Space historian Amy Shira Teitel resurfaced this fun video she posted on YouTube in 2016. This was something I knew nothing about until this post. She writes today on Instagram:

In the early space age, there was some concern that a human floating in a large space station would get stuck, that he could conceivably be in a position unable to reach a wall to push himself off of to get to a workstation or what have you. Because unlike in cartoons, you can’t swim in microgravity; trying to paddle air isn’t going to get you anywhere. So a study was done looking at how animals generate momentum, including cats, to see what kind of movements astronauts could do to move from a dead stop in microgravity. One result of the study was a paper out of Wright Patterson Air Force Base that outlined a handful of movements to generate momentum… and five years ago I gave a demonstration in silent-movie form!


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