Hypergravity research for students
In the area of hypergravity research there are numerous reasons to perform ground-based research. The most likely uses for the LDC are:
- to perform scientific studies on the effects of hypergravity on the system under investigation;
- to specifically investigate the parameters which might be affected by hypergravity conditions;
- to test hardware performance under simulated hypergravity conditions.
Within these conditions, a wide variety of experiments can be proposed, from relatively simple to technically complex ones. In the past, Spin your Thesis! teams have performed experiments that involve the following:
- biological cell development under hypergravity
- the effect of gravity on Plasma arcs
- the effect of acoustics on water bubbles under simulated gravity
- the acclimatisation of plants in hypergravity
- the behaviour of high-voltage water bridges under gravity
Many other types of investigations can be conceived, in particular in the fields of chemistry, optical physics, material and fluid sciences and geology.
While defining their projects, applicants should keep in mind the following constraints that apply to the experiments:
- Experiments requiring high temperatures, open flames or similar conditions cannot be performed within the LDC gondolas. Exceptions may be discussed, but the experiment set-up must be well contained and autonomous and should present no hazard to either personnel or the LDC and its gondolas.
- LDC gondolas do not provide active cooling.
- Power availability in each gondola is limited to 1.3 kW.
- The experiments should not take up an area of more than 50 cm x 50 cm x 75 cm.
- The maximum payload per gondola is 80 kg.
Preparing the experiment in the LDC
The gondolas can be supplied with water and gas from bottles stored in the centre of the LDC broadening the range of possible tests and increasing experiment duration while avoiding intermediate stops.
The LDC is operated by ESA engineers via an operator work station in a control room. The experiments can also be controlled and monitored by the users via the science work stations at their own centres through the LabView programme. The users have access to the LDC sensor data and the gondolas’ scientific equipment.