Message From Astronauts


The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, in which gravity is a result of the curvature of spacetime. Einstein predicted that when dense matter moves through spacetime, the curvature of spacetime will get distorted, time will get slower, and a "gravitational wave" will be produced.

In February 2016, 100 years after Einstein's prediction of the existence of gravitational waves, they were directly observed at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in the US for the first time in history. We are so excited about this evidence, which took 100 years to find.

Gravity is very mysterious. We are usually not aware of it in everyday life, but after experiencing weightlessness in space, I was overwhelmed by the significance of gravity. For example, while in space, the gaps between my vertebrae became larger, and as a result my sitting height increased by three centimeters. On the other hand, when I came back to the earth, my body felt so heavy—even one sheet of paper felt really heavy.

In the 2013 film Gravity, a female astronaut, acted by Sandra Bullock, has an accident: her space shuttle explorer is hit by space debris and she is stranded in space. After a series of thrilling emergencies she eventually returns to Earth. Her capsule lands in a lake and sinks, and she struggles to escape and swim to shore. In the bright sunlight, she picks up some soil in her hands and stands firmly, clearly experiencing gravity. What an impressive ending!

I had such a strong response to the title and to the ending of the film. I too was shocked to feel gravity when I came back from space. Everything felt precious: the soft breeze, the smell of plants and the feel of the soil, things which we usually take for granted. I got the strong sense that gravity holds us together.

The thoughts arising from Gravity may spread beyond space and time, just like a gravitational wave...

April 4, 2016
Naoko Yamazaki








2016.4.4 山崎直子