Researchers from Lousiana Tech University and NASA will be testing an experimental DNA analyzer under zero gravity conditions this month during parabolic flight testing. The objective of the test is to understand how the instrument behaves in low-gravity conditions. The DNA analyzer was identified by NASA for possible use on the International Space Station or during unmanned operations, as it was designed to be small, low powered and requires minimal user interaction.
It is hoped that the analyzer may shed some light on the effects of cosmic radiation on the DNA of living organisms.
According to a Louisiana Tech press release:
The tests will take place on a NASA airplane operating out of Ellington Field at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The flight pattern will consist of forty steep dives and climbs over the Gulf of Mexico. A controlled dive of nearly 10,000 feet in less than one minute will result in approximately 20 seconds of weightlessness for the researchers and the payload onboard. An abrupt climb back to the starting altitude will create a gravitational force twice the normal amount.
We just hope they remember their sick bags…