Ball drops due to gravity at the International Space Station, hence proving the conspiracy theory that NASA has been faking space travel and that the ISS is just a film set.
Newschecker ran a relevant keyword search, which led us to longer and clearer version of the viral video, dated April 22, 2021, uploaded by NASA, headlined, “Earth Day Q&A with Astronauts in Space | Hosted by Shawn Mendes”.
“On April 22 at 11 a.m. EDT, NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mark Vandehei, and Soichi Noguchi of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will go LIVE from space for a special Earth focused Q&A with guest host Shawn Mendes! The International Space Station live stream will feature your questions sent in from around the world,” read the description.
We can see the viral excerpt from the 18:30 mark, where you can see the astronaut standing on the far right holding a small globe under his arm, which he then drops. However, at the 18:53 mark, the globe can be seen floating back up (circled in red), confirming that the viral video had been clipped in a misleading manner.
A further search led us to this AFP report, dated April 26, 2023, where Alice Gorman, an associate professor from Flinders University, said every object in the video would be subject to the laws of gravity if the video was fake, pointing to the floating microphone in the video. “The ball acquired energy from the movement of the Hopkins, so it has an initial direction, but as that force dissipates, we see the ball floating randomly back towards the crew,” she said.
A NASA spokesperson told AFP that Hopkins applied a “small amount of force” onto the globe and moved it away from him. A similar Reuters report can be seen here, stating that the “full video shows that the ball does indeed float around and that it just happened to float down in the short, isolated segment being shared on social media.”
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