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# Yes, There *Is* Gravity in Space

This week, I settled down to watch the first episode of The 100. If you haven’t seen the show, I’ll just point out that it takes place in the near future (though it ran, on the CW, in the near past). For reasons that I won’t get into, there is a spacecraft with a bunch of teenagers that is traveling from a space station down to the surface of the Earth. During the reentry process, one kid wants to show that he is the master of space travel and that he’s awesome. So what does he do? He gets out of his seat and floats around as a demonstration of his mastery of weightlessness. Another teenager points out that he’s being pretty dumb—and that he’s going to get hurt very soon.

OK, that is enough of the description of the scene so that we can talk about physics. The point is that there is one dude “floating” around in the spacecraft during reentry.

Before I over-analyze this short scene, let me add a caveat about my philosophy on science and stories. I’ve talked about this before, so I’ll just give a summary: The number one job for a writer of a show is to tell a story. If the writer distorts science in order to make the plot move along—so be it. However, if the science could be correct without destroying the plot, then obviously I’d prefer it.

On to the over-analysis!

### What Causes Gravity?

Obviously this scene has to do with gravity, so we should talk about gravity—right? In short, gravity is a fundamental interaction between objects with mass. Yes, any two objects that have mass will have a gravitational force pulling them together. The magnitude of this gravitational force depends on the distance between the objects. The further apart the objects get, the weaker the gravitational force. The magnitude of this force also depends on the masses of the two objects. Greater mass means a greater force. As an equation, this would be written as: