In May 2011, ESA’s Education Office launched the third call for the ‘Fly Your Thesis! – An Astronaut Experience’ programme.
This exciting programme offers an opportunity for teams of university students to fly their experiments in microgravity by participating in a series of parabolic flights on the Airbus A300 Zero-G aircraft.
After the deadline for applications passed on 12 July, ESA's Education Office set up an evaluation board composed of experts from ELGRA (European Low Gravity Research Association), the ESA Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Directorate, and ESA's Education Office. Out of the 28 teams that applied for the next phase of the programme, 13 were pre-selected, involving a total of 37 students from 8 different countries.
The pre-selected teams
This list summarises the names of the pre-selected teams, the title of their proposed experiment and their university:
- CardioPost. Human Cardiovascular and Postural Control Interactions in altered gravity environments, Simon Fraser University (Canada)
- LINVforROS. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production during gravity changing conditions, Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy)
- Dustbrothers. Levitation of dust aggregates and sintered glass plates by Knudsen Compressor effect, Universität Duisburg-Essen (Germany)
- UltraColdStrontium-Firenze. Study of the dynamics of ultra-cold strontium atoms in a variable gravity environment, Universtà degli studi di Firenze (Italy)
- CSL NeuroRobotics. Investigation of human arm-hand motor synergies adaptation in microgravity environment, National Technical University of Athens (Greece)
- Hydronauts2Fly. Study of the Human Neutral Body Posture in microgravity, Technische Universität München (Germany)
- MicrOmega. Collection and distribution of samples on small bodies; application to the "Phobos Grunt" in situ analyses, Université Paris Sud (France)
- The Ablators. Asteroid Ablation – Experimental Investigation of Ejecta Plume Formation, University of Glasgow (UK)
- Sassari Space Biologists. Study of microgravity effect in human immune system using a proteomics approach, University of Sassari (Italy)
- ARTS Lab Team. Exploring the human sense of gravity and understanding "where" this cognition resides, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Italy)
- FrIS – Froglegs In Space. Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation in altered gravity conditions, Maastricht University (the Netherlands)
Dust Bunny. Dust cloud manipulation in microgravity by thermal fields, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve & Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)
- STICKY TEAM. Assessment of microgravity on the adhesion behaviour of cancerous cell lines, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece)
The pre-selected teams are now expected to write a scientific and a technical proposal before mid January 2011. Teams will be invited to present their project to the evaluation board during a dedicated workshop to be held in February of that same year. Up to four teams will be selected to further develop and perform their experiment on an ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign that should take place in Bordeaux, France, in autumn 2012.