Roller coasters could boldly go where no coaster has gone before. Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock
According to Space.com, the zero-gravity experience of outer space could be coming to a roller coaster on Earth near you. That’s right, the feeling of weightlessness is being proposed in a new roller coaster design by theme park design firm BRC Imagination Arts, that will take riders into simulated zero G — similar to NASA’s KC-135A aircraft, which trains astronauts for out-of-this-worldly experiences.
Codenamed “The Vomit Comet” (after the KC-135A’s nickname), the proposed thrill ride would take riders to speeds over 100 mph, and simulate the various states of microgravity using an algorithm of precisely timed acceleration and deceleration. Riders would ride up the first hill and be rushed downwards, before the coaster quickly decelerates to simulate the zero-G experience for eight seconds. The body would feel weightless rather than being in freefall because the coaster’s car design would be complete enclosed — thus eliminating any view of the horizon which would give the mind any frame of reference of its position.
After eight seconds, the magical moment of weightlessness would quickly revert back to a thrill ride when riders experience a drastic switch from zero-G to 2G — twice the force of the Earth’s gravitational pull.
“The sensation is a bit like being in an enclosed room while someone fiddles with the gravity switch, turning it back and forth, between 1G, zero-G and double gravity,” said Bob Rogers, BRC’s founder and chief creative officer, who did not reveal specific information of production or location of the proposed roller coaster.
If multiple states of gravity don’t equate to extreme, unprecedented motion sickness in an amusement park, I don’t know what will. Perhaps they should just keep the codename “Vomit Comet” if it ever gets completed — and stock up on buckets and mops.