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ESA's OoDrop experiment on Drop Tower - SciSpacE
Life Sciences

ESA’s OoDrop experiment on Drop Tower

Why do astronauts suffer from significant muscle wasting and bone loss while in zero gravity?

Dr. Simon Wüest from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Dr. Soeren Lienkamp from the University of Zurich investigated if specialized proteins in the cell membrane could react to gravity.

For this they chose the brand new “GraviTower Bremen Pro” at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM). “The GraviTower provides very fast access to the setup after each experiment run and much higher repetition rates than conventional drop tower facilities” explains Dr. Thorben Könemann, head of science and operation at ZARM. But running the experiment was not just plug and play. “Our setup normally requires the space of roughly an office desk, and we wanted four of them in a capsule with a diameter of 60 cm.” said Simon Wüest. “Therefore, we had to miniaturize the hardware and introduce remote control capabilities.” Finally, the experiment campaigns required careful planning. The samples were prepared exactly six days before the actual experiment at Lienkamp’s lab in Zürich, Switzerland and transported just in time to Bremen, Germany.

See some impressions from the experiment campaign in this video.