National Geographic : 1989 May
On Assignment LYING HIGH for this month's article on gravity, JOHN BOSLOUGH (above, at cen ter) floats aboard a NASA KC-135. Used to train astro nauts, the plane generates brief periods of weightlessness by carving parabolas in the sky. Although John sported a motion sickness patch behind his ear, his euphoria faded after 12 of the flight's 33 maneuvers. Unquenchable curiosity led the Colorado-born author to earn a degree in the history of science at Princeton. At the Salida Mountain Mail he embarked on a career as a writer. In our May 1985 issue he explained the inner workings of the atom, and in a 1985 book the theories of physicist Stephen Hawking. Having followed the search for gravity's secrets from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to Perth, Australia, John finds that gravity JAMESA. SUGAR IABUVE); BILLCUHISIN bt still weighs on his mind, even while jogging near his home in Virginia. "It's a miracle that our legs can pump right along in earth's gravitational field," he says. He avoids introspection, though, when pursuing his real passion: downhill skiing. Calling upon the last of their strength, author JEFF MACINNIS (right, at left) and photographer MIKE BEEDELL built a cairn on Baffin Bay to celebrate their navigation through the heart of the Northwest Passage. The first to make the journey by wind and muscle power alone, they sailed and hauled an 18-foot catamaran for 2,300 ice-choked miles. "We feel for tunate to have survived these treacherous waters," Jeff wrote on a note in the cairn. Fortunate indeed. The pas sage has claimed many lives, including the 128 men who perished with Sir John Franklin on his 1845 expedition. Eight years later, while searching for survivors, the British bark Breadalbanewas crushed by ice. Jeff helped his father locate and explore the wreck (July 1983 GEOGRAPHIC). That trip turned Jeff's fascination into determination. Over three summers Jeff and Mike raced darkness and ice that annually lock up the Arctic. But then racing comes naturally to Jeff, a former member of Canada's national downhill ski team. "The Arctic teaches you to be incredibly adaptable," says the 26-year-old Toronto native. Recently outfitted with a business degree, Jeff now gives motivational lectures to corpo rate executives-when he's not planning his next expedition. NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS.N.W., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $18.00 A YEAR,$2.25 A COPY. SECOND-CLASS POSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SENDADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P. 0. BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.