Friday, April 27, 2007

Free at Last

Free from his wheelchair for the first time in four decades, eminent astrophysicist Stephen Hawking fulfilled a dream today when he achieved weightlessness. Hawking, who suffers from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, currently occupies Isaac Newton's chair at Cambridge and is revered for his work on black holes and the origins of the universe.

The jet, run by Zero Gravity Corp. climbed to approximately 32,000 feet and made eight parabolic dives back to 24,000 feet, allowing the 65-year-old Hawking and other passengers to experience about half a minute of weightlessness. Several doctors and other assistants were on hand to ensure the paralyzed scientist would not injure himself.

Hawking, who has said humanity is on the verge of destroying itself, claims the move into outer space is now more important than ever.

Hawking didn't need the aid of his linguistic computer to express his delight. It was written all over his face.


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