The Craft of #Writing: Fact Check Your #AI

A spacewalk outside a space stationChatGPT is an amazing tool, but like all resources used for research in your writing, you need to recheck the information it provides. Below is an example of today’s research:

Beth: Good morning. How does weightlessness in space feel?
ChatGPT: Good morning! Weightlessness in space is a unique and fascinating sensation. When you are in a microgravity environment like space, the absence of gravitational forces alters the way your body feels and moves. Here are some aspects of weightlessness in space:

  1. Floating Sensation: In space, you experience a constant sensation of floating. Without the pull of gravity, your body is no longer pulled towards the ground, allowing you to freely move and navigate in any direction. You can push off surfaces and glide effortlessly through the environment.
  2. Loss of Weight and Pressure: In microgravity, you no longer feel the weight of your body pressing against surfaces or objects. The feeling of pressure against your feet or other body parts is absent. This absence of pressure can give you a sense of lightness and freedom of movement.
  3. Changes in Orientation: Without gravity, your body orientation becomes relative to your surroundings rather than being dictated by the downward force. You can twist, turn, and reorient your body without feeling the pull of gravity. It can be disorienting initially, but astronauts quickly adapt and learn to navigate in this new environment.
  4. Effortless Movements: Everyday movements that require effort on Earth, such as walking or lifting objects, become much easier in space. Your muscles and joints experience less strain since they are not working against gravity. Activities like pushing off walls, performing flips, and even simple tasks like drinking water or moving objects require minimal effort.
  5. Lack of Vertical Orientation: In space, there is no “up” or “down” as there is on Earth. You can be oriented in any direction, and your body can adjust to these new orientations. It can take some time for your brain to adapt to this lack of vertical reference, but astronauts develop a spatial awareness that allows them to perceive their position in relation to their surroundings.

Overall, weightlessness in space offers a sensation of freedom and a unique perspective on movement. It is an experience that is both exhilarating and awe-inspiring, allowing astronauts to explore and conduct scientific experiments in a way that is not possible on Earth.

Sounds great, but as a disclaimer on ChatGPT’s website says, “ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.”

And this case, the famous chatbot provided inaccurate information. I know because I did my internet information prior to asking Chat my question. To which I replied:

Point 4 is partially true, but spacewalking astronauts report that working inside a space suit is tiring. To move the suit, such as using your hands, requires pushing against the spacesuit which has a natural resistance due the stiffness of the suit.
ChatGPT immediately replied.
  1. Resistance from the Spacesuit: Spacesuits are designed to provide necessary life support systems, thermal protection, and pressurization to keep astronauts safe in the vacuum of space. However, the stiffness and bulkiness of the suit can make movements more challenging. When astronauts try to manipulate objects or perform tasks, they often encounter resistance due to the rigidity of the suit material. This can require them to exert extra effort and force to overcome the resistance and perform tasks effectively.
  2. Limited Range of Motion: Spacesuits are designed to provide a sealed and pressurized environment for astronauts, which can restrict their range of motion. The joints in the suit have a limited range of movement compared to what they would have in a normal environment. This limitation can make tasks that require fine motor skills or precise movements more difficult and energy-consuming.
  3. Increased Effort for Movement: While the absence of gravity reduces the overall effort required for movement, the added resistance from the spacesuit compensates for some of that reduction. Astronauts must push against the suit’s resistance to move their limbs, making tasks inside the suit more physically demanding compared to performing the same tasks without the suit.
  4. Temperature Regulation: Spacesuits are equipped with cooling systems to prevent astronauts from overheating. However, these systems are not as efficient as the body’s natural cooling mechanisms, and the spacesuit can trap heat generated by the astronaut’s body. This can contribute to increased discomfort and fatigue during spacewalks or prolonged periods of activity inside the suit.

So, while weightlessness reduces the strain of gravity on the body, the challenges posed by the spacesuit itself can lead to fatigue and increased effort required for movement. Astronauts undergo extensive training to adapt to these conditions and develop strategies to optimize their energy expenditure during spacewalks and other activities in space.

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