March 3, 2024

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Microgravity experiment performed by astronaut in ISS, a UPLB student proposal – PhilSA

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut Dr. Koichi Wakata performs William Kevin Abran’s Asian Try Zero G experiment proposal on the Japanese Experimental Module, “Kibo,” aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on 17 January 2023. (Photo courtesy of JAXA/NASA)

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) announced that the microgravity experiment proposed by William Kevin Abran, a University of the Philippines Los Baños student was successfully performed by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS).

In a statement released by PhilSA on Friday, January, 20, one of the ISS astronaut Koichi Wakata conducted Abran’s proposed experiment called “Rotation of ‘Dumbbell-shaped’ Objects in Space” inside the Japanese Experimental Module, “Kibo”, and has shown the behavior of rotating dumbbell-shaped objects in outer space.

“The Dzhanibekov effect, or the dancing screw motion, was not that evident during the experiment. However, it cannot be ruled out at the moment,” PhilSA said.

This test, PhilSA explained, will help in the “designs of spacecraft and offer a real-life example affirming the validity of Newton’s Laws of Motion and Ehrenfest Theorem in microgravity.”

Abran witnessed the experiment via live streaming from the ISS.

“I’m very honored to have my experiment conducted by Astronaut Koichi. The result was satisfying knowing that the dumbbell shapes behaved as predicted” Abran said.

“Also, watching the experiments proposed by students from other countries gave me a new perspective about the microgravity environment. Hopefully, this initiative inspires more students to continue doing research and be curious about the world around us,” he added.

Abran’s proposed experiment was one of the six entries chosen to be performed on the Kibo for the Asian Try Zero-G (ATZG) 2022.

The ATZG competition is organized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) which received more than 200 submissions from Asia-Pacific region countries, and 24 finalists were selected.

From the entries, JAXA had chosen only six entries to be conducted on space and one of those proposals belongs to a UPLB student.