Boomerangs Work Just Fine In Zero Gravity, Thank You Very Much

By Brent McKnight | Updated

Boomerangs are a handy weapon to have. You throw one, you miss, and it comes right back to you. Not that I’ve ever actually been successful at making one come back, but other people seem to be able to make that happen without much trouble. After all, that feral kid from The Road Warrior uses one with such wonderful results. And now we know one more thing about them: boomerangs work pretty damn well in zero gravity. This could come in handy in the future, when we’re bouncing around the surface of some alien planet, engaged in mortal combat, and our blasters, ray guns, or whatever science-fiction-y weapon we’re using runs out of batteries.

Just check out the video of this Japanese astronaut on the International Space Station. The guy is good. He braces himself in a doorway so he doesn’t float away, and just wings that bad boy time after time. He has one of those three-pronged boomerangs that always remind me of Colwyn’s weapon from Krull.

The way boomerangs work is that one arm moves forward while the other moves backwards. The arm traveling forward slices through the air faster than the other arm, and the air pressure torques the arms so that it turns in mid air. So you don’t need gravity to make a boomerang return. An atmosphere is helpful, since you need air for the arms to move through and then exert the requisite pressure, but gravity, however, can suck it. At least as far as traditional Australian weaponry is concerned.