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Human Research Program

Standardized 'Pre-flight' Exercise Tests to Predict Performance during Extravehicular Activities in a Lunar Environment

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The original Apollo missions and more recent extravehicular activities on the International Space Station have provided basic information that can be applied to activities that may occur during future long-duration lunar missions. However, despite these previous efforts, significant gaps remain in our understanding of the more complex physiological costs of different activities in a true lunar environment. Recently a ground-based simulation of a 10-kilometer Lunar Walkback was conducted to better understand the physical capabilities of a suited astronaut in partial gravity. Unfortunately, this study was limited because of the use of a stationary treadmill that did not accurately simulate the lunar environment (i.e., landscape and terrain). To date this overall lack of physiologic data collected during true lunar activities or their accurate simulation has limited the ability of NASA physicians and scientists to predict if an astronaut candidate is physically capable of completing the multiple lunar activities that may be required during long-duration missions. Therefore, the goals of this proposal are to 1) develop a mobile testbed to accurately simulate partial-gravity lunar activities, and 2) determine subject performance and the concomitant physiological responses to these activities, which will allow us to 3) create a series of standardized tests that can be performed in a pre-flight setting to determine the readiness of the astronaut to perform physically demanding activities during a lunar mission.

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