Weightlessness can be felt not only in space

Weightlessness can be felt not only in space


“Five, four, three, two, one…” General, the pilots of the Airliners rarely count the time before the start, like launching the rocket. But this is no ordinary plane. At a minimum, all on Board, apart from the team, I have a degree and have passed a full medical examination. This trip is not for the faint of heart. You see, you do not have to go to space to experience weightlessness. Sue Nelson of the BBC, told how passengers send in microgravity — at least for a couple of seconds.

«Rise. Thirty… Forty…»

The instructions of the captain touch maneuver is so complex that it requires the presence of all three pilots in the cockpit. The plane climbs almost vertically at an acute angle to 30 and then 40 degrees.

In the middle part of the plane where all the Windows are blocked by soft walls, all either stand or lie or sit on the floor, because the seats in this Airbus A310 was removed.

Several scientists wearing hats, covered with electrodes. Others stuck their hands in the open box, and they seem to three hands. A carefully examine the metal devices the size of a washing machine with switches and screens. I’m lying on the floor, surrounded by a network.

Everything is absolutely fixed, because the pressure exerted on the body is becoming stronger and stronger. Fortunately, after a few seconds, we all will experience something amazing.

«…Fifty. Input.»

At 50 degrees the magic begins. The aircraft is in a parabolic arc. The noise level suddenly drops and the plane begins to free fall. The weight of the body, pinned at 1.8 G on the way up, is suddenly replaced by a feeling of lightness. Weightlessness.

For 20 short seconds, I feel an amazing lightness, and yet someone behind me pressed a plastic bag for vomit to his mouth, I swim. And I like it.

All aboard experience the microgravity environment encountered by astronauts on Board the International space station. This plane of zero gravity, owned by Novespace, which was used by the European space Agency to conduct scientific experiments in microgravity and, to a lesser extent, for training astronauts. Even in space there is always some amount of gravitational forces because they are between two objects with mass. So technically, microgravity is a more accurate term for the feeling of weightlessness. True zero-gravity or weightlessness sounds cool and familiar.

“On Board there are 12 experiments — explains the coordinator parabolic flight ESA Neil Melville. — This is to validate the gyroscopic actuators”. He points to the mesh area with the tiny square satellites Kubatli. “The world will track the ball in zero gravity”.

He goes to the next group of scientists surrounding a metal box. “This experiment will take place inside the combustion chamber and will show the spread of the flames in microgravity”.

Another experiment includes a heat pump device that will eventually fly on the ISS. “And here we check if the weak principle of equivalence. The usual Einstein’s science.”

People with three hands to experiment with the illusion of the rubber hand. If the brush stroke is realistic, but fake hand next to your own real hand, the brain will mistakenly believe that a fake hand is part of your body. The experiment is performed in microgravity to determine, do they change the perception and the associated feelings.

“The whole parabolic arc takes one minute and 20 seconds of weightlessness,” says Melville. “But the plane is a parabola 31. One every three minutes, so the experiments are given just over 10 minutes of microgravity”.

It is not surprising that passengers are given medicine for the nausea before the flight, but some still have no luck, and they succumb to the vomiting urges. Some adapt to the new sensations for a few arcs; others are sick all the way back to the Ground. On-Board toilets.

“So far, the biggest contributor to sickness shall concern,” says Melville. “If you calm down, everything will be all right.”

Most people find that uncomfortable transition from 2G to normal at the end of the flight was the most unpleasant part of the flight. On average, two sick for the flight. However, most scientists can cope with unusual conditions of work. With ropes hanging soft toys. Outdoor straps for the feet help to keep the body upright and do not allow him to sail up. “When weightlessness is terminated, you wouldn’t want to fall on the experimental setup and break her.”

Six of the twelve experiments are part of ESA Flying Thesis. Student Timo Klein from the German sport University is an experiment that studies the brain relative to the blood flow velocity.

Klein wore a cap covered with electrodes to measure the activity of your brain, together with two other subjects to show a response to sound signals, to use the keyboard and work out the mathematical equations for 20-second periods of microgravity. “It’s not a complicated equation, but in terms of time constraints it becomes difficult cognitive task”.

The physical form is important for astronauts, but the brain is also important, and the isolation and microgravity for long periods are known to have not the best effect on cognitive ability.

“Prolonged isolation can reduce cognitive performance, but it was also shown that in microgravity improves cognitive performance,” says Klein. “We are interested in the mechanisms behind this. In microgravity to the brain rushes blood, so we assume a connection here.”

In theory all this should not only provide a deep understanding of the work of astronauts in space, but also the potential application for the development of the best ways to help patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

During the last five parabolas intended for free flight, I repeatedly swam up to the ceiling. The mesh was removed because the German society of Mars is going to release a big shiny balloon. In any case, it looks like this inflatable space structure. After a parabolic arc included in the stage zero gravity, tightly Packed balloon jumps from the cylinder, and several large fans to pump air in it.

This experiment is conducted for the first time and should provide invaluable information for future missions. “Nobody knows what will happen in weightlessness,” says Tanya Lehmann from society. “We expect that it will gradually be released from the container will be revealed, but instead he goes out, he pauses for a second and then begins to unfold”.

Inflatable structures will be tested for atmospheric rocket a year or two. One day they will be released from the probe, which will conduct scientific measurements, falling on the surface of Mars.