Usain Bolt, Fastest Human On Earth . . . And Space?

By

CCSS NAS-4
Usain Bolt in zero gravity (Photo Credit: Usain Bolt via Twitter)

After breaking numerous records on Earth, retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt recently put his legendary speed to test in “space.” The “out-of-this-world” race, staged in a zero gravity environment aboard an airplane designed for scientific research, took place over France on September 13, 2018. It was a publicity stunt organized by champagne maker G.H.Mumm, to showcase a newly-designed bottle, created to make it easier for astronauts and future space tourists to enjoy the beverage while floating through outer space.

Usain Bolt competes against two astronauts (Photo Credit: Usain Bolt via Twitter)

To simulate zero-gravity conditions, the airplane performed parabolic-shaped dives, a maneuver that involves reducing thrust and lowering the nose to maintain a neutral, or “zero lift,” configuration. Often used to train astronauts in zero-g exercises, it provides about 25 seconds of weightlessness out of 65 seconds of flight in each parabola. Though his two competitors were comfortable not being supported by gravity, it was a new sensation for Bolt. He later said, “I was nervous but as soon as the first one [parabola] goes you kind of go, ‘Oh my God,’ what’s happening? But after the third one I was like ‘Yeah’, it’s crazy!”

However, the professional sprinter did not allow nerves to get in the way of his first space race. While Bolt managed to outrun his competitors only slightly in the first lap, he established, and maintained, an impressive lead on the return, leaving no doubt that he is indeed, the fastest man on earth and in space!

New constellations to inspire kids to learn astronomy (Image Credit: birmingham.ac.uk)

Though this was Bolt’s first zero-g experience, it's not his first foray into space. In 2017, the organizers of UK’s Big Bang Fair partnered with scientists from the University of Birmingham Astronomical Society to create a new set of constellations. Designed to inspire kids to “Look Up To The Stars,” they bear close resemblances to modern-day sports, entertainment, and science icons. Among the fun new star formations identified by the astronomers are Harry Potter’s glasses, Serena Williams’ racket, Paddington Bear’s boots and, best of all, Bolt’s signature victory pose!

Resources: Interestingengineering.com, birmingham.ac.uk, itv.com

Get the Workbook for this article!

Workbook contains: Article, Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking Questions, Vocabulary in Context (+ answers), Multiple Choice Quiz (+ answers), Parts of Speech Quiz (+ answers), Vocabulary Game (+ answers)
Cite Article
1386 Comments
  • aubre
    aubreFriday, March 13, 2020 at 9:56 am
    its funny when you change the speed
    • fondy
      fondyThursday, February 27, 2020 at 12:51 pm
      wow
      • willawerewolf23
        willawerewolf23Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 5:45 pm
        Legit! Does anyone see how fast his feet are?
        • zonetan
          zonetanThursday, January 23, 2020 at 10:33 am
          omg so fast ive never seen faster
          • penguin777
            penguin777Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 4:55 pm
            This is really weird and cool at the same time
            • africangoat
              africangoatWednesday, January 8, 2020 at 12:41 pm
              so fast
              • breathofthewild
                breathofthewildFriday, December 13, 2019 at 9:24 am
                pretty cool, I can't run that fast.
                • tiny00
                  tiny00Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 9:38 am
                  😎👌
                  • AliWednesday, November 6, 2019 at 10:18 am
                    i wanna do that,cool
                    • lelandWednesday, October 30, 2019 at 11:51 am
                      it is like 15 miles in hour