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European Agencies Inaugurate New Altered-Gravity Plane

posted: 05/08/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
ZERO-G TAKEOFF
ESA

Three European space agencies have officially inaugurated an altered-gravity plane, capable of simulating gravity on extraterrestrial environments such as Mars. The European Space Agency, France's space agency CNES and the German Aerospace Center ran 12 inflight scientific investigations on the specially refitted Airbus A310 ZERO-G.

The plane flies an up-and-down, parabolic trajectory to simulate gravity in non-Earth environments. For example, when flying at a 50-degree trajectory, occupants experience both weightlessness and gravity at double Earth's levels at different points in the flight.

According the the ESA, the plane can house research in the fields of astronomy, biology, physics and medicine, and can be used as a testing ground for equipment before it is sent into space. The Airbus A310 was formerly used as a transport aircraft for German heads of state; it replaces an aging Airbus A300.

Click here for more information from the European Space Agency

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