Thursday, July 7, 2011

Former Lakewood Ranch student experiences weightlessness

Harrison Brit experiences weightlessness. (NASA photo)
MANATEE --  After testing their self-designed and constructed experiments on board a gravity-defying aircraft, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota  students are evaluating their data collected during a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston from June 16 – 25, according to an SCF press release.

Six SCF students -- James Mohan, Joe Comer, Alexa La Motte, Brenan Flint, Harrison Brit, and Mario Osborn -- participated in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, which gives teams of undergraduate students nationwide the opportunity to propose, design, build, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment.

Brit is a former Lakewood Ranch High School student and Palm-Aire resident.

The team was selected from more than 70 proposals based on scientific merit and education outreach potential.

The team tested their experiment, “Magnetic Forces between Dipoles in Microgravity,” which measured the force between two magnets with dipoles opposed during the reduced gravity flights aboard NASA’s “Weightless Wonder.”

The microgravity aircraft produces periods of weightlessness lasting 18 to 25 seconds by flying a series of about 30 parabolas – a steep climb followed by a free fall – over the Gulf of Mexico.

“This experience surpassed my highest expectations. I’m proud to be one of the first SCF team of students to participate in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program,” Mohan said.

The team will send a final report analyzing the experiment’s effectiveness, scientific findings, and conclusions to NASA within the next three months.

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