July 14, 2009

NASA seeks undergrads to defy gravity

NASA says it is offering U.S. undergraduates an opportunity to test experiments in microgravity aboard its Weightless Wonder airplane.

Officials said the offer is part of NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, which gives students a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced gravity experiment.

Selected teams will be able to test and evaluate their experiments aboard NASA's reduced gravity airplane that flies about 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips during experimental flights, producing periods of weightlessness and hyper-gravity.

Today's students will be the ones going to the moon and beyond to live, explore and work, said Douglas Goforth, the program's manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center. This project gives them a head start in preparing for those future ventures by allowing them to conduct hands-on research and engineering today in a truly reduced gravity laboratory.

Proposals must be submitted to NASA by Oct. 28. Interested students also should submit a letter of intent by Sept. 16.

NASA will announce selected teams Dec. 9. Once selected, teams may invite a full-time, accredited journalist to fly with them and document the team's experiment and experiences. All applicants must be full-time students, U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old.

More information is available and proposals may be submitted at http://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov/theProposal/howtoApply.cfm.