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Scientists defy gravity for weightless experiments

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 01:44

A team of scientists in France have broken free from Earth's gravitational pull to conduct experiments in zero-gravity that make it possible to test devices and equipment that could be used on future space missions. Elly Park reports.

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These researchers are pulling their weight for science. Inside the Zero-G plane, that can create zero gravity conditions for 22 seconds, these French national space agency scientists test equipment for use on future space missions. Together with French company Novespace they are studying the impact of microgravity. SOUNDBITE (French) NOVESPACE DIRECTOR, THIERRY GHARIB, SAYING: "We have research teams on board which try to study phenomena which cannot be studied when on the ground because those phenomena are hidden by the force of gravity. So that's why we give them the possibility to go weightless and see what happens with fluid physics, human physiology, biology." Zero gravity is achieved by the so called parabolic flight of the plane --ascending at a sharp 50 degree angle, reaching a certain altitude before free falling over an arc following the earth's curvature. Inside the aircraft, experiments take place to help astronauts grow plants on future trips to Mars. SOUNDBITE (French) STUDENT AT THE FRENCH SPACE RESEARCH CENTRE CNES, LAUCAS PINOL, SAYING: "We are trying to see how drops of water behave when weightless, the drops will be bigger than those when on Earth, they will move slower, something that you can't do with Earth's gravity." Here scientists use virtual reality goggles to improve communication in space where the sense of direction gets lost. The scientists hope that their contributions will help astronauts stay afloat during tricky situations when help is far and away.

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Scientists defy gravity for weightless experiments

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 01:44