Space

Is there Gravity in Space? Here’s all you need to know

Is there Gravity in Space? Here's all you need to know

Gravity is a fundamental interaction between objects with mass. Any two objects that have mass will have a gravitational force pulling them together. The intensity of this gravitational force depends on the distance between the objects, in other words, 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; hence, higher mass implies more force.

One of the four fundamental forces at work in the universe is the Gravitational force. The other three are namely — the electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force, and all four combined binds the universe as it is. Out of these forces, the strongest one, over very short, atomic-scale distances is the ‘strong nuclear force.’ Electromagnetism comes next, as the second-most powerful, but it’s still 150 times weaker than the strongest force. Next is the ‘weak nuclear force,’ which is about 10,000 times weaker than electromagnetism, and the weakest of the four is the gravity.

The limitation that the strong and weak nuclear forces face is that they can only exert force over atomic-scale distances. However, there is no such limitation with either electromagnetism or gravity. They can work over distances of light years, according to the studies till now. Isaac Newton was the first to figure out the concept of gravity, how it worked and published his research in the apparently the greatest of all scientific works, The Principia Mathematica, in 1686. Newton defined gravitational force Mathematically as being directly proportional to the product of the masses of the objects and inversely proportional to their squared distances, which is also referred to as “Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.”

Newton is still known for his research about gravity, and the Law of Universal Gravitation was the decisive factor on how planets moved, and the stability of the universe until Einstein appeared with his theory of general relativity in 1916. Einstein’s theory of general relativity combined Newton’s Law with Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which scientifically defined the phenomenon with the relationship between space and time. In layman’s terms, Einstein did not say that the Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation was wrong but stated it to be incomplete and appended his ‘special relativity’ theory to provide an explanation on how massive objects interacted over great distances.

Since then, scientists have been trying to come up with a unified theory, as the “theory of everything” or “combined theory” that will combine gravity, general relativity and quantum mechanics into a single, unified and cohesive theory to explain the happenings in the universe. After publishing his various theories on ‘relativity’, even Einstein was in search of a unified approach, but he had no luck coming up with one, and such a ‘unified theory’ is yet to be discovered.

Gravity is not just experienced by small objects, but even the celestial bodies including the sun, the earth and the moon among others, also experience it. It is the force that keeps the solar system stable and binding together. So to answer, is there gravity in space? The answer would be yes there is, but not just from Earth, but from all the celestial bodies that are our there in space.

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