Neighbours of astronaut Tim Peake were given a shock this morning when their street was turned into a ‘gravity free zone’.
The street in Westbourne, near Chichester, was temporarily renamed Gravity Avenue and passersby looked on as people, cars, post boxes and benches appeared to be floating in mid-air.
While the eye-catching pictures, featuring young pupils from Major Peake’s old primary school, look for all the world to have been photoshopped, those behind it insist it is not a mere camera trick.
The stunt was organised by Alton Towers Resort to celebrate the launch of Galactica, a new attraction at the theme park which promises to ‘bring the experience of space travel’ to thrill-seekers.
(Click on the video to see how it was done).
Gill Riley, marketing director at Alton Towers Resort said: “The nation has been captivated by Tim Peake and his mission to the International Space Station, so what better place to bring the experience of space travel to life than his home street.
“And in April, the experience of space travel will be even closer, as Galactica launches its first mission to space - from Staffordshire.”
So how did they create the gravity-defying spectacle?
A levitating platform was used to hold the female performer in mid-air, and she in turn is holding onto a rigid lead with fake dog.
The post box was mounted on a see through Perspex platform, and the car, which is real, is being suspended by a 70ft crane out of shot.
The pupils from Westbourne Primary School, also real, joined in the fun for one of the photos.
“We want to help make space exploration a reality for the next generation of British space enthusiasts, which is why we have partnered with the National Space Centre,” Gill Riley said.
“Over the next 12 months, we will support their education programme so more children get the chance to learn about the universe and its hidden wonders.”
Galactica is the world’s first roller coaster entirely dedicated to virtual reality, ‘transforming riders into astronauts and plunging them into outer space, with a G-force more powerful than a real rocket launch’.
Major Tim Peake is set to return from his six-month space mission in June.
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