The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)“Zero-Gravity Instrument Project” (ZGIP) was initiated in 2012 as part of HSTI capacity-building activities, in which a fixed number of microgravity-simulating instruments, called Clinostats, have been distributed to selected schools and institutions worldwide. ZGIP is implemented by the Space Applications Section of the Office for Outer Space Affairs. The role of the initiative is to provide a platform to exchange information, foster collaboration between spacefaring and non-spacefaring countries, encourage emerging and developing countries to take part in space education and research, and benefit from space applications.
The 3rd cycle of the Zero-Gravity Instrument Project (ZGIP) received applications from 42 Institutions worldwide after which a three-month evaluation process was carried out by experts from the HSTI and members of the Science Advisory Group. The third cycle selected 13 project proposals from eight countries, including the application of Oluwafemi Funmilola Adebisi for National Space Research and Development Agency. The instrument has now been made available to other non-spacefaring countries for microgravity research and experimental purpose. Please write to ol****************@gm***.com
What Is a Clinostat?
A clinostat is a device that negates the effects of gravity. For non-spacefaring countries that do not have access to microgravity environment, this device makes it possible to perform microgravity experiments. The clinostat is uniaxial. Plants seeds, cells, microorganisms and small samples from material sciences are possible samples that can be experimented on it. The experimental variables are rotation speed, temperature, humidity, and light conditions.
The objectives of the NASRDA with the clinostat are:
- To understand the impact of gravity on the sample of interest. The idea behind this is to know what the orientation of the sample will be in space, as well as to identify the underlying mechanisms. With clinostat experiments, the importance and impact of gravity can be demonstrated.
- To conduct observational experiments with respect to the differences under microgravity environment and comparing them with those of control experiments under gravity.
- Understanding how organisms and matter react to gravity and the absence of it will lead to new applications that benefit mankind in the areas of food security, new medical cures, and the creation of a data set of experimental results in gravity responses that will contribute to the design of future space experiments and the advancement of microgravity research.
OLUWAFEMI Funmilola Adebisi is part of the Space Life Science Unit of the Engineering and Space Systems Department (ESS) at the National Space Research and Space Agency, Nigeria. She is the Group Lead of the Space Environment Working Group of the Space Safety and Sustainability (SSS) Project Group within the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).
The Authority on News, Data and Market Analysis for the African Space Industry.