ARED Keeps ISS Astronauts Fit
ISS Commander Chris Hadfield sends us this cool tweet from space, showing off their ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device), used to help astronauts maintain their Earthman strength while in space.
('Keep bones dense and muscles strong in space)
A  paper in the Journal of Physiology by Robert Fitts of Marquette University suggests the reduction in the capacity for work after six months in space can exceed 40 percent, which would temporarily reduce the performance of a returning astronaut to that of an 80-year-old. The study suggests more effective exercise techniques are required to keep astronauts in shape during long missions.
Fitts said bed-rest studies show resistive exercise can offset the decline. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station typically spend 45 minutes to an hour or so every day actually exercising, either pedaling a stationary bike, jogging on a treadmill, held down by a harness, or using resistive devices. Counting preparation time, crew members devote two hours a day to getting the required exercise done.
The ARED, one of the latest exercise machines aboard the station, works like a high-tech gym to permit effective weightlifting with up to 600 pounds of load, using flywheels to simulate the inertia weight lifters must overcome.
Science fiction writers have long urged space agencies to think about astronaut fitness on long space voyages. In his 1953 novel Space Tug, Murray Leinster writes about a gravity-simulator harness:
"When we got back," Joe told Brown, "we were practically invalids. No exercise up here. This time we've brought some harness to wear. We've some for you, too..."
Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses. He showed Brent how they worked. Brown hadn't official instructions to order their use, but Joe put one on himself, set for full Earth-gravity simulation.
He couldn't imitate actual gravity, of course. Only the effect of gravity on one's muscles. There were springs and elastic webbing pulling one's shoulders and feet together, so that it was as much effort to stand extended—with one's legs straight out—as to stand upright on Earth. Joe felt better with a pull on his body.
(Read more about Leinster's gravity-simulator harness)
Heinlein fans recall that in his 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the loonies heading toward Earth need to start exercising to survive the harsh gravitational field of our planet.
Had to squeeze in hours of heavy exercise, wearing weights, and dasn't arrange permission to use centrifuge at Complex, one used by earthworm scientists to stretch time in Luna...
Exercising without centrifuge is less efficient and was especially boring because did not know there would be a need for it...
Many sf fans also recall the scene in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey in which Frank Poole gets some exercise by jogging within the turning living space of the Discovery space craft.
(Frank Poole goes jogging)
Via Twitter and America Space; thanks to Winchell Chung on Google+ for mentioning ("plussing?") this.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/11/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.' - George O. Smith, 1942.
Io's Sulphur Dioxide
'All the water in the air froze first and made a blanket ten feet thick or so...' - Fritz Lieber, 1951.
Tethers Unlimited Satellite Mini-Thrusters
'They combined the absolute maximum of sheer thrust with the irreducible minimum of flyability.' - Murray Leinster,
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Looks Nearby
'I... set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'
Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'
Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'
MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'
NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Superior Morals For Autonomous Cars
Exemplars of military and civic virtue.
Housekeeping Robots Easy To Imagine, Tough To Make
George Jetson had it easy.
Augmented Reality On Construction Sites
'To Nigel Bishop, the walls had become blue glass...'
Moorebot Personal Assistant Robot
'...a full-size 38-tube fully automatic companion for you!'
One-Shot Gene Therapy Cure $665K
One shot - one cure. Guaranteed.
Laser 'Autonomous Target Selection' Now Available To Curiosity Rover
And, given the birthday situation, is this a good time?
Ultrasonic Wireless ‘Neural Dust’ Sensors For Medical Monitoring
'These dustmotes already had sensors and independence built in.'
Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'
'The 'skin's got these reflexes, changes its permeability...'
Record 1007 Robots Dance In Harbinger Of Doom
Okay, Sonny, I know you're out there.
Cicret Makes Your Skin Into A Display
'On the translucent mica-like coverings over the orifices, appeared reddish characters...'
Tesla's To Eye Future With New Sensors?
'I want to show you something new in the way of an automobile.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories