What do chopsticks and space robots have in common? Japanese astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) are about to find out.

They’ll conduct the experiment, which was submitted by an Australian university student, as part of the Asian Try Zero-G competition.

Australian National University Aerospace Engineering student Shingo Nishimoto said he was excited to have his experiment selected by a distinguished panel of space professionals.

‘I’m looking forward to observing the rotating motion of chopsticks for a long duration under the zero gravity environment,’ Shingo said. 

‘That experiment will help us to understand whether the theoretical expectation is correct.

‘I believe that the theory can apply to the space robots that manage the angular momentum vector to the robots' body frame using shape deformation.’

Asian Try Zero-G has been created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to promote crewed space experiment activities aboard the Kibo module of the ISS. The competition is delivered in Australia by One Giant Leap Australian Foundation, with sponsorship from the Australian Space Agency.

Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency Dara Williams said Shingo is an example of the exceptional space talent we are cultivating in Australia.

‘Developing the next generation space workforce is a key part of the Australian Space Agency’s mission, and opportunities like this help to keep young Australians here at home where they can have a fulfilling space career,’ Ms Williams said. 

‘Keeping our talent in Australia is not just important for the space sector, but in growing a range of important industries, from advanced manufacturing to critical technologies like AI and robotics.’

Shingo will now be guided in preparing his activity for launch. The demonstration of the selected space activities will be broadcast live and transmitted to JAXA’s ground station at Tsukuba Space Center, Japan. 

Further information and updates can be found on the One Giant Leap website.

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