Grand illusions | The Economist


YOUR correspondent stands, in a pleasingly impossible way, in orbit. The Earth is spread out beneath. A turn of the head reveals the blackness of deep space behind and above. In front is a table full of toys and brightly coloured building blocks, all of which are resolutely refusing to float away—for, despite his being in orbit, gravity’s pull does not seem to have vanished. A step towards the table brings that piece of furniture closer. A disembodied head appears, and pair of hands offer a toy ray-gun. “Go on, shoot me with it,” says the head, encouragingly. Squeezing the trigger produces a flash of light, and the head is suddenly a fraction of its former size, speaking in a comic Mickey-Mouse voice (despite the lack of air in low-Earth orbit) as the planet rotates majestically below.
Source: Grand illusions | The Economist

 

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