When NASA first sent cats up on its Vomit Comet back in the early 1960s to see how our furry friends could handle the discombobulating effects of zero gravity, even the brightest minds at the space agency couldn’t have known that the video of the test, one day, would become Internet gold. Zero-g tests were strictly scientific events; the entertainment-minded weightless antics of Kate Upton and the members of OK Go would have been unthinkable. Hell, the Internet itself was but a twinkle in DARPA’s eye, decades away from conquering the world with an endless series of cat videos.
But 16 years into the 21st Century, the footage of felines flipping and flailing while in free-fall is pure online gold.
Because as it turns out, a cat’s renowned ability to always land on its feet is worth exactly zip when its airplane is plummeting towards the planet’s surface at 9.8 meters per second squared. But watching them try to figure that out—especially when the experiment has been captured on old-school 8mm film—makes for some truly entertaining YouTube viewing.
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(And if the idea of watching helpless kitties struggle to right themselves makes you hesitant to watch, don’t be. We’re cat lovers. We wouldn’t ask you to watch anything that involved feline injury.)