Space Station
Science & Exploration

Calling scientists: send your experiment out of this world

28/02/2014 4012 views 28 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Research

ESA is selecting new experiments to float in microgravity, 400 km above the planet on the International Space. Sounds out of your reach? Submit an exciting science proposal and your experiment could be on the orbital complex as early as 2016.

Conducting eye experiment
Conducting eye experiment

Testing a theory or understanding phenomena often requires tinkering with variables. Scientists have been heating, stirring, dehydrating and spinning experiments in laboratories for centuries, but only since the advent of spaceflight can we ‘switch off’ gravity as a variable for experiments.

Earth’s orbital outpost is a well-equipped laboratory for scientists in many disciplines. From 2000°C metal furnaces to –80°C freezers and from greenhouses to centrifuges, the Station can cater for your scientific needs.

Experiment success stories include a better understanding of our immune system, developing vaccines, finding genes responsible for ageing, developing lighter and stronger metal alloys and discovering animals that survive in open space.

ESA and the international partners that run the Station – Russia, USA, Japan and Canada – are simultaneously announcing opportunities for scientists to submit research proposals. This approach supports international collaboration to benefit the exploitation of resources.

Freezing experiment samples
Freezing experiment samples

ESA’s focus for this round of experiments is on life sciences, so research on humans, plants, cells and astrobiology have priority. Think your research area could benefit if taken into orbit? Send in your proposal by 23 May detailing why your experiment should be performed on the Station.

The Station’s resources are limited and performing experiments in space requires significant effort. The scientific selection criteria are based on uniqueness, viability, relevance to space and expected result. If your experiment is selected, experienced ESA staff will guide you through the process of testing equipment and getting it space-certified.

This opportunity is part of ELIPS – the European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences in Space – ESA’s research programme for science and applications in microgravity, helping to improve our life on Earth and enable humankind’s long-term presence in space.

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