xgravler - Experimental Gravity Research with LEGO-based Robotics Onboard a Stratospheric Research Balloon
This project was realized using a LEGO Mindstorms NXT processor in combination with a three-axis accelerometer (very similar to the one used at a Nintendo Wii Remote), and some additional electronic hardware to execute experiments on micro- gravity (μg) generation in high-altitudes. The main purpose of the mission was to check the feasibility of our idea.
The implementation used two payloads, dubbed REEL and E, connected by a tether and a Bluetooth communication-link. The REEL payload drops E, during which it would experience a few moments of free-fall, and reels it back in. During the free fall the acceleration is measured and then sent back via wireless link. This experiment was repeated 24 times over the course of the balloon flight.
μg is useful for a variety of scientific research areas ranging from crystal formation, biotechnology, medical/drugs research, fluid physics research to the emerging field of nanotechnology. A follow-up mission named reel.SMRT was selected and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). In 2009 payloads flew on one of the BEXUS balloons.
SpaceMaster Robotics Team, Austria - Jürgen Leitner
SpaceMaster Robotics Team, Mexico - David Leal Martínez
SpaceMaster Robotics Team