mona minkara on a zero gravity simulation

People with disabilities have been locked out of spaceflight. But that is changing.

As the airplane tilted steeply upward, Mona Minkara experienced gravity like never before.

“It feels like a huge pressure is on you, and the skin of your face is being pulled over the bones of your skull,” she says. “It’s a really bizarre feeling.”

And then, as the plane reached the top of its arc-shaped path, those pressures of gravity lifted. Minkara began to float as her body was introduced to the feeling of zero gravity.

For Minkara, who is legally blind, such weightlessness could have easily been disorienting. “As a blind person, walking around, gravity is always a constant,” she explains. “You always know what’s down. You use your cane because it’s touching the floor. We can’t use a cane in zero gravity because it will just whack whatever all around you, and you don’t want to do that.”

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Photo by Al Powers for Zero Gravity Corporation.

College of Science