The Media Lab's Space Exploration initiative chartered a zero gravity research flight to allow students to conduct research experiments that make explicit use of the unique affordances of microgravity.
This flight was the initiative's first research deployment, and the first step toward realizing the mission statement of democratizing access to space. Projects ranged across disciplines: design, architecture, engineering, biology, music, robotics, and beyond. The researchers are imagining and prototyping for humanity's future in space, beyond the basic concerns of survival.
The researchers had only a few weeks to submit project proposals, and only five months to design their experiments and get them flight-ready and approved (and even less in some cases). Each project had to meet strict research criteria as well as stringent safety and operational standards. Each experiment had to be designed to be run in only 20-30 seconds of zero gravity at a time, over the course of 20 parabolas.