Research

A broad array of fundamental research is enabled by the microgravity environment whether it is in a ground-based drop tower, parabolic airplane flights, or suborbital rocket flights. Each platform has advantages and a place in a broad scientific research endeavor. The research fields that are enabled by microgravity include:

  • Collisional and aggregation processes in protoplanetary disks
  • Collisional evolution of planetary ring systems
  • Evolution of the dusty surfaces of asteroids and small moons
  • Physical evolution of comet nuclei
  • Space Life Sciences
  • Fundamental fluid physics
  • Physics of granular media
  • Validation of space hardware and space operations
  • Crystal growth
  • Dusty plasma physics

The University of Central Florida has expertise in several of these research areas and promotes active research programs that will be leveraged by the Center for Microgravity Research.

Flight-Based Experiments

Ground-Based Experiments

Previous CMR Experiments

 

Planetary Rings

  Planetary rings, like those of Saturn, are made up of countless particles ranging in size from micron-sized dust up to miniature moons tens of meters across. These particles collide frequently, but at very low speeds, depending on the local ring environment. These collisions sculpt the ring systems. In some cases particles stick together to …

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Planetesimal Formation

Planetesimals are the building blocks of planets. Asteroids and comets are leftover planetesimals from the time of formation of our own solar system. The formation of km-sized or larger planetesimals remains an open problem in planet formation theories. Once objects are larger than ~10 km, gravity helps these objects grow into planets. Condensation and electrostatic …

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Surface of Asteroids

Asteroids are the rocky leftovers from the formation of the solar system. The largest asteroid, Ceres, and a few others, are dwarf planets, but the overwhelming majority are small, irregularly shaped objects that have been battered by collisions over the course of the last 4.5 billion years. Many are shards from collisional fragmentation of larger …

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