I ENJOYED reading "A Brief History of Time" back in college, and I think it's only fitting for the brilliant theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to one day venture into space. That's what he hopes to do by 2009. So he's taking the first step with a zero-gravity flight that allowed him to temporarily escape his wheelchair. Here's an excerpt from the Agence France-Presse story. Photo also courtesy of Agence France-Presse.
"It was amazing ... I could have gone on and on," Hawking, 65, said after riding for two hours on a modified jet that flew a rollercoaster trajectory to create the impression of microgravity. "Space, here I come" he said at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The British professor, who has spent most of his career studying black holes and gravity, hopes the flight will be a prelude to a 2009 voyage into space. "I have long wanted to go into space," said Hawking, who is almost entirely paralyzed. "A zero gravity flight is the first step to space travel," he said at a news conference near the runway. "I hope many people will follow in my path." Four doctors and two nurses were with Hawking on the flight aboard G-Force One, also known as the vomit comet.