OK Go, an alternative rock band known for whimsical music videos involving synchronized treadmill routines and other antics, has launched a new song that literally is out of this world.
No special effects, wires, or green screens were used to produce the floating laptops and flight attendants in “Upside Down & Inside Out.”
Instead, the band used…. PHYSICS!
They filmed the video on a Russian airplane that can climb and descend sharply, over and over again, like a roller coaster. It’s used to train astronauts. (The U.S. version is NASA’s “vomit comet,” named for its stomach-churning effect.)
Near the top of the arc, the only forces acting on the plane are gravity and air resistance. The engines are then cut back and the plane flown at an angle that exactly compensates for air resistance. Passengers experience a sense of weightlessness for about 21 seconds, until the plane pulls out of its dive.
Read more about the physics of making “Upside Down & Inside Out” in Phil Plait’s Slate column.
Watch a video of Rochester Institute of Technology students aboard NASA’s vomit comet.