'Nasa-backed' story that claimed we could float in the air for five minutes on 4 January revealed as a hoax

The post was shared more than a million times on Facebook

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The Independent Tech

It looks like we’re all going to have to stick to our newfound weight-loss plan after a supposedly Nasa-backed story claiming that the Earth will experience “decreased gravity” for five minutes on 4 January has been outed as a poorly conceived hoax.

The 'science' story started gaining online popularity after making an appearance on Daily Buzz Live, a US news site that often publishes fictional stories.

The article, published on 15 December, claimed that a unique planetary alignment would decrease the effects of the Earth's gravity, causing temporary partial weightlessness.

By boxing Day, the story had amassed 1,070,000 shares on Facebook

Sources for the unusual interplanetary episode include a photoshopped tweet from Nasa and an explanation of the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect, attributed to Sir Patrick Moore.

"At exactly 9:47 PST AM on January 4th, Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to Earth," states the article. "This rare alignment will mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets would exert a stronger tidal pull, temporarily counteracting the Earth’s own gravity and making people virtually weightless."

The joke story even gained enough traction to start the hashtag "ZeroGDay" trending on Twitter, with similar popularity on Facebook.

While microgravity events can be found off Earth, a Nasa representative told AL.com that "Temporary microgravity can be created using aircraft flying in parabolic arcs".

Still, at least you now have a context for understanding why some people may start jumping disappointedly on 4 January.

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