WVU's Microgravity Research Team defies gravity to conduct experiments on NASA's "Weightless Wonder" aircraft.
The WVU Microgravity Research Team, composed of 10 undergraduate engineering majors, was among 20 selected from universities nationwide to participate in the 2011 summer flight program. More than 100 teams applied, and it marked WVU's ninth invite in 10 years. Teams must first submit proposals to NASA, which chooses participants based on the scientific merit and educational outreach potential of their plan.
The 2011 team spent 10 days in Houston at NASA's Johnson Space Center where they got a behind-the-scenes tour and tested an experiment aboard the "Weightless Wonder," a fixed-wing aircraft that produces weightlessness 25 seconds at a time by executing a series of about 30 parabolas – a steep climb followed by a free fall – over the Gulf of Mexico.