Tomorrow, a parabolic flight is set to take off from Swiss soil for the second time. It will be carrying experiments from various Swiss universities on board to research the effects of zero gravity on biological and physical processes, and test technologies. With this flight, the second from the air force base in Dübendorf within one year, the Swiss Research Station for Zero Gravity initiated by the University of Zurich has got off to a flying start.
A year ago, the University of Zurich conducted its first parabolic flight for test purposes from Swiss soil. Now a second aircraft is ready for lift-off to research zero gravity: Tomorrow (Saturday), an Airbus A310 ZERO-G is set to take off from the air force base in Dübendorf equipped with scientific experiments from the Universities of Zurich, Basel, Lucerne and ETH Zurich.
The aircraft will perform special maneuvers to generate weightlessness in particular zones over the Mediterranean. On these trajectories – alternating between steep climbs and descents – the earth’s gravitational pull will be overcome for periods of 22 seconds at a time. Diverse experiments can be conducted on board during these brief phases.
Experiments from science and industry
Parabolic flights are vital for research under changed gravity: They can yield fundamental insights into the role of gravity in biological or physical processes. For instance, UZH is studying how human tissue reacts to the lack of oxygen in zero gravity – a key question for space walks; Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is using electrophysical tests to research the mechanisms involved in the perception of gravity by cells; a team of chiropractors from Balgrist University Hospital is testing functional connections in the development of back disorders, which can be identified more effectively in zero gravity; and another experiment conducted by ETH Zurich is devoted to the role of gravity in phytoplankton behavior, which should help improve our understanding of one of the most important oceanic microorganisms on earth.
Besides these “terrestrial” experiments, however, one is also aimed into space: The University of Basel is testing sedimentation behavior in Mars’ gravity, thereby obtaining crucial data for the calibration of mathematical models with a view to reconstructing the planet’s environmental history. The research flight is also attractive for the space industry: An experiment conducted by the Swiss start-up SpacePharma is testing scientific hardware designed for use on small satellites.
Research platform for zero gravity established
“Thanks to these research missions, Swiss Parabolic Flights, which were initiated by UZH, have taken root in Switzerland,” says Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich. He runs the Platform for Scientific Research in Zero Gravity, which is also backed by the Swiss Space Office of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. The flexible combination of research from universities, industrial experiments and private individuals enables the costs of the flight to be minimized for science. These research flights into zero gravity are made possible by the close collaboration between Novespace, a subsidiary of the French space agency CNES, the Swiss Air Force, the Air Force Center in Dübendorf, Swissport and the Swiss SkyLab Foundation.
Prof. Oliver Ullrich
Institute of Anatomy
University of Zurich
Tel.: +41 44 635 53 11
Melanie Nyfeler | Universität Zürich
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses