Our Amazing In-flight Experiments
Imagine having to complete tricky scientific experiments while hurtling through space at over 17,000 miles per hour and being weightless! Yet, for astronauts on the International Space Station, this is part of their day job.
Indeed, together they have completed over 3,000 important studies with perhaps surprising results. We owe everything from new muscular dystrophy drugs to hurricane warning systems to these space scientists!
Want to experience the most unique job off-planet? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Former astronaut and world record holder Vladimir Pletser, has put his 30 years designing space trials for the European Space Agency to good use and has come up with 10 cutting-edge experiments you can perform during zero gravity parabola flights, supported by your highly experienced co-pilot.
The Experiment Count Down!
Experiment 10 - Heartbeat and pulse
As you soar up and down during exciting parabolas, your body will experience different gravity levels and your task will be to record your heartbeat as gravity changes.
Experiment 9 - Optical illusions and gravity
Astronauts need to take care not to be confused by optical illusions that can occur in zero gravity. You’ll experience some of these yourself during your flight.
Experiment 8 - Tapping test
Simply tapping a target might sound easy but watch what happens when you try this fun experiment. Zero gravity affects spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, movement and balance. What may be simple on Earth can suddenly become much more of a challenge!
Experiment 7 - Floating liquid drops
This experiment is a real favourite with everybody! There’s something truly magical about watching floating liquid drops form into spheres and float in mid-air.
Experiment 6 - Precessing and spinning top
The normal rules don’t always apply in zero gravity. Simply by spinning a top, you’ll see what we mean. We can promise you one thing - it definitely won’t behave as you expect!
Experiment 5 - Pendulum swing
If the spinning top wasn’t enough to convince you how oddly objects can behave in space, just wait until you carry out the pendulum experiment. Imagine what happens when there isn’t any gravity to make the pendulum stop!
Experiment 4 - Foams and emulsions
If we want to have a future in space, we need to understand the different ways substances react to weightlessness. In this experiment, you’ll investigate why foam and emulsion behave differently in zero gravity.
Experiment 3 - Measure the zero gravity
No idea what an accelerometer is? Don’t panic! Not only will we explain what this device is, but we’ll also help you make one, and then use it to measure acceleration!
Experiment 2 - Mixing or not mixing
Have you ever tried mixing oil and water? What do you think might happen in zero gravity where the heavier liquid doesn’t sink? What about at higher levels of gravity? Not sure – well, prepare to find out!
Experiment 1 - Chemical garden
Scientists can grow larger, better crystals in zero gravity. Discover how to turn bigger crystals into better drugs.
All our experiments have been designed so they can be adapted to suit any age and level of scientific understanding. If you are at junior school, these experiments are perfect for introducing you to important new scientific ideas; if you are at university, we’ll help you to explore the science behind your observations.
Ready to take on the final frontier? Then register your interest in the flight experiments here today.