What would happen if we played tug of war in space?

You must have played tug of war before, right? The game consists of a competition in which two teams pull the opposite ends of a rope until one of them - the weaker one - ends up being pulled across a central mark. But what if the activity was performed in space, in a microgravity environment, do you know what would happen? The result would be very different from what is observed here on Earth!

According to Laura Geggel of Live Science, instead of the strongest being able to pull the weaker towards themselves and win the game, competitors would be drawn towards each other - as you can see in the following experiment, conducted by a pair of astronauts at the International Space Station. Check out:

And do you know why the two contestants are drawn towards each other - instead of the "stronger" winning the game? To understand why, we need to revisit the good old Newton Laws. More precisely, the Third Law, which says that for every action there is an opposite reaction of equal intensity. Do you remember her? So!

Newton already knew

According to Laura, Newton's third law refers to what happens when we apply a force to any object: it exerts an equal force in return. It turns out that here on Earth the result of the third law is generally less evident than in space because of the gravity of our planet.

Isaac Newton

Look at Newton there!

So imagine that you are trying to push something very, very heavy, such as a large block of stone, for example. According to Laura, although it is very difficult to get the boulder out of the place because of its large mass, although it does not seem like it, it will be exerting the same force against you - and you just won't be pushed back because gravity doesn't allow and maintain it. your body "anchored" to the ground.

In contrast, the International Space Station is a microgravity environment, and therefore the forces exerted on the bodies become superevident there. So when someone pushes - or pulls - an object, it pushes (or pulls) back, as you saw in the astronaut experiment, in which the two are mutually attracted as soon as they exert some force on the makeshift rope until they meet. In a hug.

If the pair were playing tug of war here on Earth - "trapped" on the ground by gravity - the winner of the competition would be the heaviest and most muscular astronaut.