A recent incident at a traffic junction resulted in the meat for this post (A child’s arm defies Physics – https://twentymegahertz.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/a-childs-arm-defies-physics/).
While considering laws of physics, I started wondering how Superman (the comic book hero) can fly on Earth. As a child, I was a Superman fan, but I have changed allegiance to Batman. Why? I will share that in another post. Now back to the topic of this post.
Superman, as we all know, is from the planet Krypton, which has heavier gravity as compared to Earth. This is cited as the main reason for Superman’s ability to jump large distances and his ability to fly.
But, my biggest question today is, how can he really fly and how does he get traction in the air, so as to propel him in the direction he wants? Though Superman can jump large distances due to reduced gravity, the task of flying needs him to be able to push himself through the air. Simply jumping into the air, will cause him to come down to Earth in a parabola which is much further away that would be possible for a human. Why? Because gravity being gravity (however strong or less it might be) will try to pull any heavier-than-air object floating in the sky, towards itself.
PS: Fictional super-heroes do not have a logical explanation associated to their powers. So trying to ground them into reality is not practical. But, definitely as a thought experiment, it is worthwhile to examine the physics, chemistry and biology aspects behind the super-power associated to the super-hero.