Scientists reveal the weird way astronauts could stay fit on the moon


Moon-dwelling astronauts might be able to get their steps in by running along the walls like Spiderman.

Due to the moon’s weak gravity, at only one-sixth Earth’s, astronauts could stay fit on the surface of our satellite by running horizontally around a cylinder, according to a new paper in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The strange solution could help future lunar astronauts avoid the degeneration of their muscles, skeleton and cardiovascular system due to the weaker gravity on the moon.

In space, astronauts have to regularly exercise to prevent their bodies from slowly breaking down, as long-term living in low-gravity can lead to “muscle hypotrophy, bone demineralization, cardio-respiratory and neuro-control deconditioning,” according to the paper.

Therefore, astronauts who are spending long periods of time on the moon need to find a way to stay fit. Exercising their whole bodies at once is a better method than training specific groups of muscles at a time, but due to the moon’s low gravity, walking or running at speed results in bizarre and ridiculous bouncing.

Researchers from the University of Milan have instead suggested a strange solution: Astronauts could run along vertical walls of a cylinder-shaped room.

“Here, we propose a novel solution: lunar inhabitants could engage in running on the inside of vertical circular walls, hence running parallel to the Moon’s surface,” they wrote in the paper. “Such an activity on Earth is reserved for motorized vehicles during stunt exhibitions [called ‘Wall of Death’ (WoD)] but could be done by humans on the Moon and would generate enough centrifugal acceleration to emulate a higher level of gravity.”

Using a rented fairground attraction to simulate low gravity, the researchers tested if this would be possible in lunar gravity. They found that in a cylinder with a radius of about 15.4 feet, running at a speed of around 12-14.5 mph not only allowed the astronauts to successfully run around the walls but gave them enough centrifugal force toward the walls to mimic gravity.

“To emulate Lunar gravity, 83 percent of body weight was unloaded by pre-tensed [36-meter] bungee-jumping bands,” the researchers wrote. “Participants unprecedentedly maintained horizontal fast running [5.4-6.5 meters per second (mps)] for a few circular laps, with intense metabolism and peak forces during foot contact, inferred by motion analysis, of 2-3 Earth body weight [corresponding to terrestrial running at 3-4 mps], high enough to prevent bone calcium resorption.

“A training regime of a few laps a day promises to be a viable countermeasure for astronauts to quickly combat whole-body deconditioning, for further missions and home return.”

The post Scientists Reveal the Weird Way Astronauts Could Stay Fit on the Moon appeared first on Newsweek.

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