Browse Definitions:

gravitational acceleration

Gravitational acceleration (symbolized g) is an expression used in physics to indicate the intensity of a gravitational field. It is expressed in meters per second squared (m/s 2 ). At the surface of the earth, 1 g is about 9.8 m/s 2 .

The use of the term acceleration in conjunction with gravity arises from Einstein's principle of equivalence, which was a cornerstone in the development of the general theory of relativity. This principle states that the force produced by a gravitational field is qualitatively the same (in terms of how it affects physical objects, time, and space) as the force produced when a reference frame accelerates.

Suppose a deep-space vessel accelerates at 9.8 m/s 2 , far away from the gravitational field of any planet or star. The occupants of that space ship experience a force equal to the force of gravity at the earth's surface (1 g), and this force has the same physical effect as gravitation. Conversely, a free-falling object near the earth's surface gains downward speed at a rate of 9.8 m/s 2 .

The gravity on the surface of Mars is approximately 0.37 g; the gravity in the atmosphere of Jupiter is about 2.5 g. The astronauts in space flights, and the pilots of some fighter aircraft, are subjected to gravitational acceleration levels of up to 6 or 8 g.

Also see acceleration and Table of Physical Units and Constants .

This was last updated in September 2005

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Good :) Lots of help


File Extensions and File Formats


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...




  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.