There is Gravity in Space

Gravity causes every object to pull every other object toward it. Some people think that there is no gravity in space. In fact, a small amount of gravity can be found everywhere in space. Gravity is what holds the moon in orbit around Earth. Gravity causes Earth to orbit the sun. It keeps the sun in place in the Milky Way galaxy. Gravity, however, does become weaker with distance. It is possible for a spacecraft to go far enough from Earth that a person inside would feel very little gravity. But this is not why things float on a spacecraft in orbit. The International Space Station orbits Earth at an altitude between 200 and 250 miles. At that altitude, Earth’s gravity is about 90 percent of what it is on the planet’s surface. In other words, if a person who weighed 100 pounds on Earth’s surface could climb a ladder all the way to the space station, that person would weigh 90 pounds at the top of the ladder. If 90 percent of Earth’s gravity reaches the space station, then why do astronauts float there? The answer is because they are in free fall. In a vacuum, gravity causes all objects to fall at the same rate. The mass of the object does not matter. If a person drops a hammer and a feather, air will make the feather fall more slowly. But if there were no air, they would fall at the same acceleration.