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Facilities for Simulation of Microgravity in the ESA Ground-Based Facility Programme

Abstract

Knowledge of the role of gravity in fundamental biological processes and, consequently, the impact of exposure to microgravity conditions provide insight into the basics of the development of life as well as enabling long-term space exploration missions. However, experimentation in real microgravity is expensive and scarcely available; thus, a variety of platforms have been developed to provide, on Earth, an experimental condition comparable to real microgravity. With the aim of simulating microgravity conditions, different ground-based facilities (GBF) have been constructed such as clinostats and random positioning machines as well as magnets for magnetic levitation. Here, we give an overview of ground-based facilities for the simulation of microgravity which were used in the frame of an ESA ground-based research programme dedicated to providing scientists access to these experimental capabilities in order to prepare their space experiments.

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Brungs, S., Egli, M., Wuest, S.L. et al. Facilities for Simulation of Microgravity in the ESA Ground-Based Facility Programme. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 28, 191–203 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12217-015-9471-8

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Keywords

  • Levitation
  • Clinostat
  • Random Positioning Machine
  • Simulated microgravity