The Spin Your Thesis! (SYT) programme offers university students (bachelor, master and PhD levels) the opportunity to perform scientific or technological research in hypergravity conditions in a number of fields such as biology, biochemistry, microbiology, optical physics, material sciences, fluid dynamics, geology and plasma physics. A Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) has been developed by ESA that can cater experiments in hypergravity conditions with levels ranging from 1 to 20 g. With 6 gondolas mounted on the long arms and 1 central gondola as a control experiment (1 g) this facility can provide, for example, a hypergravity environment for cells and plants, as well as physical science and technological experiments.
Experiments for the LDC can have a size of around 50 cm x 50 cm x 75 cm and weigh up to 80 kg. Several other facilities such as electricity, water and gas outlets are available in the experiment gondolas. Lastly, several facilities for experiment control and monitoring, such as LabVIEW, are present.
With the Spin you Thesis! programme ESA provides university students the chance to perform experimental research in facilities usually not accessible to them. The programme usually opens a call for proposals once a year which then stays open for three months. During this time, student teams, together with the endorsing professors from their universities, are encouraged to submit their proposals for experiments in the LDC.
The experiments proposals may cover various disciplines which will be selected based on scientific and technological merit by a team of scientists and experts in that field. Up to four teams will be selected and asked to develop their experiment within 6 months, after which they will be granted the opportunity to access the LDC for two and a half days. A team typically consists of 2 to 4 students. After the campaign is over, the results will need to be processed and documented within 4 months. A more detailed timeline can be found here.
SYT is a great opportunity for students to conduct their experiments in hypergravity conditions. Moreover, ESA strongly encourages the research results to be published in papers and journals which should also be presented at international conferences.
Are you interested in participating in the next Spin your Thesis! campaign? Please check the links on the right side of this page, and see how you can propose an experiment.