When scientists study how air moves around objects or how objects move through the air, we call it aerodynamics, from the Greek aerios (air) and dynamis (force). Anything that moves through the air is subject to forces in the air that affect its movement. Imagine you are 10,000 feet above the Earth, in a small and extremely loud plane. You’re standing at the edge of an open hatch in the wall of the plane, getting ready to launch yourself out. 3, 2, 1...you jump. If you’re like me, just reading this makes your legs feel like jiggly jello. If you’re like my oldest son, reading this makes you yearn for the day you’re able to go skydiving. Either way, if you are faced with jumping out of an airplane, your parachute is your best friend. When that parachute opens, something magical happens. It keeps you from crashing into the ground as the force of gravity pulls you toward Earth. The way the parachute does this isn’t actually magical, it’s physics! When that parachute spreads out, it catches a lot of air, pushing the parachute upward. This “air resistance” counteracts the force of gravity. When you’re falling, this air resistance is your friend. It helps you glide slowly downward to a much softer landing.