UCSB Science Line
 How does gravity affect plants and NON-Living things? Question Date: 2016-05-30 Answer 1: Anything that has mass is attracted to all other mass by the force of gravity. Gravity affects everything, even if an objects mass is very small. The force of gravity gets weak quickly as you move farther away from another object. That's why people usually only talk about the force of gravity from big heavy objects, like how the Earth is attracted to the Sun by gravity. Even though they are very far away from each other, they both have a lot of mass so the force of gravity between them is strong. We also talk about how you are attracted to the surface of the Earth by gravity. You are also attracted to the sun's mass but you are much further away so that force is so small you can't feel it - the pull you feel toward the Earth is much stronger. This is true for all the objects that have mass around you too - they are more strongly attracted to the Earth than they are to each other. Gravity shapes the environment that we live in by pulling down on everything. Rivers run down the land, carrying soil and rock to the oceans. Even the air (which is very light in weight) is affected by gravity – it is thickest near the ocean and gets thinner in the mountains. Gravity affects everything, both living and non-living things. For animals on Earth (like you), gravity determines which direction is down and up. Like you, plants can feel and react to gravity. They make sure that their roots go down and leaves go up - even their seeds are planted upside-down. This makes it difficult to grow plants on the International Space Station, where they don’t feel the effects of gravity - the astronauts can provide plants with water, soil and sunlight but, without gravity to guide them, plants grow in all directions. Answer 2: Well first off, plants are living and in fact plants are just as alive as we are. Although plants look like they aren’t alive, they are actually quite complicated and can be as complex as some animals. Since plants are alive, gravity has a large effect on them. For instance, a tall tree needs to get water from the ground up to the leaves at the top of the tree and gravity makes this very hard. However, trees have many clever ways of transporting water 100s of feet up into the air despite gravity. And of course, leaves fall off trees into piles of leaves on the ground because of gravity. For non-living things like rocks, gravity usually will only affect them if they’re moving, like if a rock is pushed off a cliff, it will fall because of gravity. Though sometimes water falls due to gravity, and that water can sculpt rocks, which is how the Grand Canyon came to be. Answer 3:Gravity affects how tall plants can be. Plants want to grow taller so they can get more sunlight, but gravity makes it hard for the plant to move water from the ground to the tallest leaves and branches. So, gravity limits the maximum height a plant can reach. This doesn’t stop some trees though. The tallest California redwood is taller than the length of a football field! Answer 4: Gravity affects everything equally: stars, rocks, trees, people, etc. Click Here to return to the search form.