Hypergravity

Hypergravity

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Hypergravity is defined as the condition where the force
Force
In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity , i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform...

 of gravity exceeds that on the surface of the earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

. This is expressed as being greater than 1 g. Hypergravity conditions are created on earth for research on human physiology
Human physiology
Human physiology is the science of the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical, and biochemical functions of humans in good health, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed. Physiology focuses principally at the level of organs and systems...

 in aerial combat and space flight, as well as testing of materials and equipment for space missions.

Recent research carried out on extremophiles in Japan involved a variety of bacteria including Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms . Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls...

and Paracoccus denitrificans
Paracoccus denitrificans
Paracoccus denitrificans, is a coccoid bacterium known for its nitrate reducing properties, its ability to replicate under conditions of hypergravity and for being the possible ancestor of the eukaryotic mitochondrion .-Description:...

being subject to conditions of extreme gravity. The bacteria were cultivated while being rotated in an ultracentrifuge
Ultracentrifuge
The ultracentrifuge is a centrifuge optimized for spinning a rotor at very high speeds, capable of generating acceleration as high as 2,000,000 g . There are two kinds of ultracentrifuges, the preparative and the analytical ultracentrifuge...

 at high speeds corresponding to 403,627 times "g" (the normal acceleration due to gravity). Paracoccus denitrificans was one of the bacteria which displayed not only survival but also robust cellular growth under these conditions of hyperacceleration which are usually found only in cosmic environments, such as on very massive stars or in the shock waves of supernova
Supernova
A supernova is a stellar explosion that is more energetic than a nova. It is pronounced with the plural supernovae or supernovas. Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months...

s. Analysis showed that the small size of prokaryotic cells is essential for successful growth under hypergravity
Hypergravity
Hypergravity is defined as the condition where the force of gravity exceeds that on the surface of the earth. This is expressed as being greater than 1 g...

. The research has implications on the feasibility of existence of exobacteria and panspermia.