Is there an ‘up’ and a ‘down’ in space? | Space


No matter where you travel in the universe, you’ll likely experience the downward tug of gravity toward a nearby object. (Image credit: sdecoret via Getty Images).

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have long used the seeming weightlessness of space to have a bit of fun — chasing their dinner through the air, playing tug-of-war and mimicking superheroes. But is there a traditional “up” and “down” in space? Based on the astronauts’ experiences, it’s easy to think that the usual designations we use to define our positions, such as up and down or North and South, no longer apply once we leave Earth.

That’s true in some ways, but it’s still possible to use human perceptions of space and time to orient ourselves among the stars.

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