“When applying to graduate or professional school, how many students can say they’ve done scientific research at zero Gs?” said Dr. Rachel Smith, faculty advisor to UNC Pembroke’s Weightless Lumbees.
Dr. Smith and a four-student contingent had just returned in mid-July from NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight program. Trae Griffin, Molly Musselwhite, Georgianna Revels and Tiffany Scott traveled to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to board a specially-equipped aircraft that produces 30-second periods of weightlessness through steep dives and ascents.
This is the Weightless Lumbees seventh trip to Houston in 11 years. UNCP was one of 32 universities to be accepted into the NASA program this year.
While bouncing from zero to twice earth’s gravity, the team tended 26 vials to learn how human muscles recover from extreme exercise in outer space. Back in Pembroke, they continued their work by replicating the experiment in a UNCP lab, doing media relations and preparing an outreach program for the public schools, where they will promote STEM sciences.