Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut Dr. Koichi Wakata performs William Kevin Abran’s Asian Try Zero G experiment proposal on the Japanese Experimental Module, “Kibo,” aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on 17 January 2023. | Photo courtesy of JAXA/NASA

A Filipino student’s microgravity experiment about the rotation of dumbbell-shaped objects in space has been performed on the Japanese Experimental Module “Kibo” on the International Space Station (ISS), the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSa) reported.

PhilSa said Friday last week that William Kevin Abran’s experiment demonstrated what happens when dumbbell-shaped objects are rotated in space.

The experiment went as planned, as shown by the ISS live stream of the event.

During the experiment, the Dzhanibekov effect, or the dancing screw motion, was not particularly evident. Even so, it cannot be ruled out at the moment, PhilSA said.

“The result of Abran’s experiment will help in the designs of spacecraft and offer a real-life example affirming the validity of Newton’s Laws of Motion and Ehrenfest Theorem in microgravity. A scientific paper discussing the results of the experiment will be published,” according to the country’s space agency.

Live video was transmitted from the International Space Station for Abran to view as his experiment was carried out.

“I’m very honored to have my experiment conducted by Astronaut Koichi. The result was satisfying knowing that the dumbbell shapes behaved as predicted,” Abran said.

“Also, watching the experiments proposed by students from other countries gave me a new perspective about the microgravity environment. Hopefully, this initiative inspires more students to continue doing research and be curious about the world around us,” he added.

The rare opportunity was made possible through the Asian Try Zero-G competition organized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for members of the Asian Beneficial Collaboration through Kibo Utilization in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The local call for proposals among Filipino students and researchers was facilitated by PhilSA as part of its education and outreach program. Five (5) qualified experiments came from the Philippines. The competition gathered over 200 submissions from countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and 24 finalists have been selected. Six (6) were chosen to be conducted on the ISS, including that of Abran.

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