TU students to take a ride in NASA's 'vomit comet'

Tuesday, July 13th 2004, 5:43 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa team will get weightless next week aboard a NASA research jet. They're not engineers or physicists, but college students.

All of these students are undergraduates at the University of Tulsa. And they're on the cutting edge of physics research.

They're trying to figure out how very small particles interact in space. Their experiments could unlock some space mysteries, like how Saturn's rings are formed. But they need something they can't get here on earth, zero gravity. So the students are going to Houston to take their experiment aboard NASA's research jet.

The jet will climb about 35,000 feet and then drop. For about 25-seconds, the students will feel what life would be like without gravity.

TU physics student Grant Volle: "I think it will be pretty cool. I can't say I won't puke but I have ridden on small planes in high winds before."

TU physics student Erin Lewallen: "Its a really unique experience when you don't know which way is up or down and you're just floating in a state of free-flow."

The jet is affectionately called the vomit comet. This is the third time TU students have ventured on the jet. They say it's a trip that's taken their education to new heights.