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G Force

Force (actually, acceleration) can be measured in "g's". In case you're not familiar with this measurement, it measures the amount of acceleration that is exerted on an object. One "g" is the amount of acceleration that is exerted on an object by gravity when it is at the surface of the earth. If the object is moved out into space farther away from the earth, where the gravity is not as strong, the object will have less than a "g" of force acting on it.

Fighter jet pilots are familiar with this measurement. If one engages in a maneuver which causes a force on his or her body that is twice as much as what he or she would normally experience because of gravity on the ground, he or she would say that he or she has experienced a force of "two g's".

One g is equal to 32 feet per second per second. This means that an object in free fall near the Earth's surface, if not affected by air friction or any factor other than gravity (such as hitting the ground!), would be traveling 32 feet per second (72 MPH) faster at this instant than it was traveling one second ago.

Question: If an astronaut were to get in a spaceship and start accelerating that spaceship at a rate of speed so as to produce one g of force on her body (that is, accelerate at the rate of 32 per second per second), how long would it take to reach the speed of light? (Ignore the effects of relativity, if any. This is a straight mathematical calculation problem.)

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