Defying gravity

This summer, the Lehigh Microgravity team traveled to Houston, Texas, to study how houseflies travel in zero gravity. Amos Ambler ’14 and Luke Yoder, Evan Mucasey, Greg DiMaggio, Alec Clark and Edward Stilson, all of the Class of 2011, performed research aboard NASA aircraft in near-weightless conditions as part of NASA’s Microgravity University. Accompanying the team was Robert Thodal, a graduate student in mechanical engineering. “We wanted to look at the initial learning curve the housefly goes through as it experiences microgravity and how it modifies its flight trajectory to cope with changing conditions,” Ambler said. “Professor Grenestedt saw this as an opportunity to work on an intriguing project while getting the chance to fly in zero gravity,” Ambler said. “We took the idea of the housefly and ran with it.” Check out the YouTube video.

The Dendrite and Graphite of a Grey Cast Iron Structure

The Lehigh Microgravity team aboard NASA’s modified Boeing 727 airplane that provides simulated zero gravity for periods of 20-30 seconds at a time. While suspended in space, the team conducted an experiment to determine the flight trajectory of a fly when it's subjected to a loss of gravity.