Watch A Bowling Ball And Feather Fall At The Same Rate In The World's Largest Man-Made Vacuum Chamber

November 3, 2014


This is a video from BBC 2 of British physicist Brian Cox visiting NASA's Space Power Facility in Ohio. The facility is home to the world's largest man-made vacuum chamber, measuring 30.5 (~100 feet) meters across and 37.2 meters (~122-feet) tall, with a volume of 22,653 cubic meters (~800,000 cubic feet). It contains about 30 tons of air when not in use, which are pumped out until only 2-grams remain when being used for vacuum testing. In this experiment, a bowling ball and feather are dropped under normal earth conditions, then again in a vacuum. The result...might not surprise you since you learned what would happen in middle school science class. It's still cool to see though. Like watching yourself having sex in a mirror. Just kidding, that always ends badly. Do I really look that fat? I can't believe she even finds me attractive. DOES she even find me attractive? I wouldn't have sex with me if I were her. Shit, I'm going soft. Focus, GW, FOCUS! "What the -- are you really going limp on me again? What's the deal -- you don't find me attractive anymore?" No baby, that's not it at all. You see what happened was, I was staring at myself in the mirror, right? "Right now, while we were just having sex?" Yeah... "You're sleeping on the couch." I don't even deserve the couch, I'll be in the pile of leaves by the mailbox.

Keep going for the video, which is worthwhile to watch all the way through, but the vacuum drop goes down at 2:50.

Thanks to my buddy Brian, who tried to tell me his balls would have still fallen so fast they would have gone through the floor, the earth's core, and out the other side.

  • ciccio bomba


  • PastMidnight

    Man..I wish those around me could find something like this as enthralling and fascinating as I do. I had on my face the same smile all those people who conducted and watched the experiment did as I watched, but I doubt anyone I know would feel the same way if I showed them this video :/

  • shashi

    I feel your pain. Popular science has always had a niche audience but trust me when i say its better this way. When you actually do find someone who appreciates this genre, they will be just as happy to have found you as you them.

  • PastMidnight

    I approve your take on this. Thanks :]

  • LuckyDrunk

    Idiots. I wanted to use this video to demonstrate some science to my 10 year old. However, not being able to see a REAL TIME DROP as opposed to a slow motion one really confused him. I simply cannot believe that someone given access to such an incredible facility could prove to be so inept. Thanks for wasting my time.

  • shashi

    Yeah why is this stupid video not making our children less stupid? I learned everything i know from TV, why would TV suddenly let me down and not make a show with the exact shots and sequences that i want? How will our children ever learn anything now that we must rely solely on pop-science videos featuring Professor Brian Cox? Hey Brian? Answer me PROFESSOR COX! Do you really expect me to use one of the other free online videos showing this happen in REAL TIME?? My son doesnt want to watch a real life astronaut doing this on the moon!

  • So that's what the college humor guy has been up to.

  • Joe Hansbarger

    I wish they would have played the video in REAL TIME because that would have been cool as hell to see.

    Not everything is more awesome in slow-mo.

  • shashi

    YEEEAAAHHH!! Why no BANG BANG?? Me want BANG BANG! but they only show one BANG! One BANG not enough for me. Take your scientifically accurate portrayal of what actually happens in such an experiment (which was intentionally slowed down for illustrative purposes and not just to make it look cool) and shove it, all i want to see is a bowling ball going BANG! (again) In fact i will now pick up my laptop and make it go BANG! maybe even BANG BANG!

  • nominus

    Yeah I feel totally ripped off on that. What idiot thought they shouldn't play it in real time? Heck we're only talking about 2 seconds, why can they not play that 2 seconds? I guess being close to it makes you blind.

  • ODwanKenObi

    must hear moar.

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