Word of the Day


Having no weight, especially because of being outside the Earth’s atmosphere

Sounds simple enough, however, as with many things scientific a full explanation is more complex and involves a subject we all love: physics.

The word weightlessness conjures up images of astronauts floating around in the cabin of the International Space Station. Why are they floating? Because they are in zero gravity of course, but are they weightless?

To be strictly correct, weightlessness is not an absence of weight but an absence of stress associated with the weight. An astronaut’s body weight is the same but because there are no other forces present (gravity) a state of weightlessness is created.

The Guardian reports that French space scientists are seeking volunteers to assist them with research into microgravity (virtual weightlessness). Applications are invited to be one of 24 males required to spend 60 days in bed under laboratory conditions. Please note you will not be allowed to leave the bed for 60 days, for any reason! Appropriate facilities will be provided. You have to be the fit and sporty type apparently. Successful applicants will be paid €16,000. Sounds good, but it’s only €11 (£9.35) an hour.


having no weight, especially because of being outside the Earth’s atmosphere

About the author

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

Leave a Comment