gms | German Medical Science

78th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

16.05. - 20.05.2007, Munich

The deluded vestibular apparatus: The illusion of the gravitational field in the solar system and its consequences

Meeting Abstract

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German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. 78th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. Munich, 16.-20.05.2007. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2007. Doc07hno038

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Published: August 8, 2007

© 2007 Pichler.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



When visiting the space centres in the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union I became acquainted with all the training opportunities and facilities of the astronauts and cosmonauts. The gigantic water tanks, serving to simulate zero-gravity, made the greatest impression on me in this connection. There the potential astronauts/cosmonauts, wearing their space suits, learned to perform the underwater work in and at the space stations, which was later to be urgently done in the universe.

Being a doctor, the comparison has occurred to me that every human being encounters conditions similar to those simulated at zero-gravity in the womb prior to his/her birth. The great shock follows when he/she is born. The newborn child experiences the full impact of gravity and, in taking his/her first breath, the vital significance of the oxygen atmosphere.

In 2005, at Erfurt, we published, true to scale, the gravitational fields of the earth, the earth’s moon, and the two neighbouring planets, Venus and Mars. The earth circles the sun at an average velocity of about 108,000 kilometres per hour, and with it, naturally, the gravitational field, at the same speed. However, the force of gravity of the earth’s moon and the planet Mercury is too weak in order sustainably to keep hold of a gas envelope called atmosphere. In the case of Mars and Venus the atmospheres are dramatically different from that of the earth. In those early days the earth was lucky to have found the right distance from the sun, allowing liquid water and air to collect on its surface. The earth’s gravitational force is strong enough to keep air and water down permanently.

But space travel has revealed another shock: the astronaut/cosmonaut has become aware of a gravity-field illusion, which had so far led the scholars to believe they were enjoying a position of rest, and which permitted the conjecture that this was a position in the centre of the universe.