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How Much Acceleration Can the Human Body Take?

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Biology   |   Physics   |   Science  
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Humans want to reach the super speeds for travel across the globe or even other planets, but how much force can our bodies handle?

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“We humans are obsessed with speed. Recent months, for instance, brought news that students in Germany have broken the record for the fastest accelerating electric car, and that the US Air Force plans to develop hypersonic jets that would travel at more than five times the speed of sound – that’s speeds in excess of 3,790mph (6,100km/h).”

Why the Human Body Can’t Handle Heavy Acceleration
“Our bodies are surprisingly resilient in many situations, but rapid acceleration is not one of them. While the human body can withstand any constant speed—be it 20 miles per hour or 20 billion miles per hour—we can only change that rate of travel relatively slowly. Speed up or slow down too quickly and it's lights out for you, permanently.”

All About G Forces
“Before the advent of airplanes, which could accelerate the human body like nothing before, people rarely experienced G forces. So-called gravity forces first became a concern during World War I, when pilots began mysteriously losing consciousness during dogfights. As early as 1919, a doctor wrote up this strange phenomenon for the literature, calling it ‘fainting in the air.’


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Special thanks to Matthew Morales for hosting this episode of Seeker!
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Written by: Andra Cernavskis

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