Students invited to drop their experiments

ZARM Drop Tower in Bremen
20 September 2010

ESA’s Education Office offers university students the opportunity to perform experiments in microgravity, using the ZARM drop tower in Bremen, Germany.

The 'Drop Your Thesis!' programme gives selected university students the opportunity to develop, as part of their research programme or Masters / PhD thesis, an experiment to be carried out during 5 drops at the Bremen site.

The ZARM facility is one of the best of its type in Europe and attracts scientists from around the world. It features a 146 m high tower surrounded by numerous support facilities and laboratories. The experiment payload is integrated into a drop capsule which is allowed to fall freely, attaining microgravity levels as low as 10-6 g for up to 9.3 s. The level of microgravity is better than that achieved in parabolic flights, or even on orbital platforms (e.g. the International Space Station). In addition, drop towers are extremely versatile and allow the experiment set-up to be adjusted between consecutive drops.

Interior of the drop tower

Interested teams from ESA Member States should register on the ESA Education Office's project portal and upload their completed application, by 21 February 2011. Proposals from ESA’s Cooperating States are also encouraged.

The proposals received will be evaluated by a review board, which will select the winning team. This team will perform its experiment during ESA’s Drop your Thesis! 2011 campaign, to be held in Bremen for three weeks during the autumn of 2011.

The team selected to participate in the ‘Drop Your Thesis!’ programme will be supported by ESA’s Education Office, ZARM engineers and members of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA). ESA will offer financial support to cover part of the cost of building the experiment and to cover the costs of team travel and accommodation associated with the campaign.

For more information please contact the ‘Drop Your Thesis! ’ team: dropyourthesis @ esa.int.

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