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A team of doctors and scientists from the University of Oxford have tested a tissue oxygen monitor in microgravity for the first time. Dr Thomas Smith, who leads Oxford’s Aerospace Medicine Research Group and led the research, presented the results at an international conference on aviation and space medicine in Oxford on Monday 21st September.

The team studied a new portable monitoring device on special test flights in which an aircraft carries out a series of steep climbs and dives called parabolas. Each parabola provides a short period of microgravity, just like the weightlessness astronauts experience in space. Unfortunately parabolic flights can also lead to motion sickness, and the aircraft is nicknamed the vomit comet.

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