Earth science

Which is Quicker: Bowling Ball or a Feather!?

How do you make a bowling ball fall at the same speed as feather? All it takes is a little science and a little help from NASA.

A bowling ball is pretty heavy, whereas a feather is as light as... well... a feather. But gravity pulls both of these objects down to Earth in exactly the same way with exactly the same force – so why do they fall at different speeds? What makes the feather fall slower is the opposing force of air resistance. There is more friction between the feather and the air than there is with the bowling ball. This makes it fall to the ground MUCH slower than a bowling ball.

However, if you put these two objects in NASA's vacuum chamber which removes all the air from the room, the results are very different. Because there is no longer any air, there is no more opposing force – this makes the feather and the bowling ball fall to the ground at exactly the same time (see our video below for a demonstration).

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