Professor Steven Hawking, noted intellectual and all round Deacon, is going in to space apparently: From Sky news. Stephen Hawking, who has spent his career pondering the nature of gravity, has experienced weightlessness for himself. The astrophysicist took a flight on board a plane usually reserved for trainee astronauts. Before taking off he said: "I'm very excited. I have been wheelchair bound for almost four decades. "The chance to float free in zero-g will be wonderful." The so-called vomit comet undertook eight parabolic dives to recreat the weightlessness of space, before landing back safely to Cape Canaveral. Peter Diamandis, of the Zero Gravity Corporation, who accompanied the professor said: "We had a wonderful time. It was incredible, far beyond our expectations." Hawking, 65, the British author of A Brief History of Time, was surrounded by a medical team on the padded plane. The professor, who is almost entirely paralysed, hopes his brief, weightless escape from his wheelchair will eventually lead to a voyage into outer space in 2009. He is getting a free ride on a specially adapted plane known as G-Force-One - otherwise known as the 'vomit comet'. Mr Hawking was diagnosed with the muscle-wasting motor neuron disease at the age of 22. He is in a wheelchair and speaks with the aid of a computer and voice synthesiser. His work has centred on theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity, looking at the nature of such subjects as space-time, the "big bang" theory and black holes.