Welcome from the 2015 Boise State Microgravity University Team!
This year starts an all new program and an all new adventure. The program has changed a little but it is still an exciting undergraduate research opportunity with NASA!
You may have heard and seen pictures like this one, with Boise State teams on a reduced gravity flight in a plane affectionately called the ‘vomit comet’ or otherwise known as the “Weightless Wonder” that allows researches and astronauts in training to experience 30 seconds of weightlessness via a parabolic flight pattern.
For the past six years Boise State has sent teams to do this testing and have come back with amazing stories and pictures!
This year the microgravity program shifted gears and will be building a tool to test in another simulated microgravity environment. This one is under water in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab. This lab is home to a 6.2 million gallon pool. Astronauts train and test equipment after being weighted to become neutrally buoyant which allows them to fill like they are in a microgravity environment.
While this may seem very different than a microgravity flight in an airplane or being in space it is very helpful to us. The proposal we will be sending into NASA will be to build a tool that can prove a proof of concept. We need to see what the tool will act like while in a microgravity environment and how the astronauts will be able to handle the tool. Being in the pool will allow for a longer test time compared to the 30 seconds of microgravity in the plane.
So a team of six has been assembled and we are currently working on the proposal to get it ready for a submission. Wish us luck!