I'm wondering how would you move without gravity? You would still have air pressure at 1Atm.

Would you "swim" in the air or would you have do something else?

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    $\begingroup$ Larry Niven speculated at length on the possibilities in The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring. Many other source in the SF literature have had some guesses to make. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Those books are so awesome. I don't care if a lot of the characterization and dialog are really cheesy; the world is just so cool. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Integral_Trees $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Keenan: High Wow!-factor, and sometimes spotty characterization are par for the course with Niven. He does write really believable, human characters from time to time, but you can't count on it. I think it's the place he benefits most from collaboration. $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2011 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicates: physics.stackexchange.com/q/886/2451 and links therein. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 20:16

3 Answers 3


The answer is: with great difficulty.

In a space ship there should be hand holds and footholds and a grid of ropes crisscrossing and you would move by pulling and pushing yourself: muscle power.

Air is too thin to get a reactive force to propel yourself effectively by swimming.

Once a motion is started, stopping will have to be taken into account too.

  • $\begingroup$ Portable jet packs would be useful. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ Without gravity, you'd jut need some sort of broad cloth to catch air. Or wings. Birds do just fine even with the Earth's gravity. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Jerry True, in a large enough space, wings would work, and training how to stop will be needed. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for answering this question. So you could "swim" if you had wings but hand/foot holds seems the best idea. $\endgroup$
    – Xplane
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Jerry why wings? How about a portable fan... I mean, you could be quite mobile with a fairly simple setup. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 21:24

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Well we could use arrangements springs and nets.

Example: Suppose you want to get from A to B. There is spring at A (launcher spring) and there is another spring at C(deflector spring). There is a net at B to catch you. And the big black rectangle is a house.

You firmly push your head against spring at A and let go. Once you reach spring C it will deflect you and at B the net will catch you. Please wear helmet!


I would grow long nails on my hands and feet, and then run like a beast with the nails firmly in the soil at all times :) If I accidentally leave the surface, I would huff and puff in the reverse direction until I reach the surface again.

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    $\begingroup$ Because Water (all of it!) would not stay in rivers/sea and soil once levitated from ground would "fly" around, we would have a lot such floating "things" around to grip and throw backwards. $\endgroup$
    – Georg
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 19:59

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