August 31, 2011
New Space Suit To Imitate Gravity
NASA is working with Draper Laboratory to create a suit that imitates gravity while in space.
The space agency has commissioned work toward a suit for future space missions based on an idea by the Draper Laboratory.
The suit aims to stabilize astronauts and allow them to operate more efficiently while performing missions aboard space stations or spacecraft.
The suit could help astronauts acclimate to space and avoid body movement coordination-related mistakes in microgravity or other gravitational environments that can make their work more cumbersome.
Draper's suit uses an inertial measurement unit and flywheel gyroscopes to raise and lower resistance during body movements, or stabilize and assist astronauts.
“This spacesuit concept will provide a platform for integrating sensors and actuators with daily activities to maintain and improve astronaut health and performance,” Kevin Duda, a senior member of the technical staff in Draper´s Human Centered Engineering Group, and the principal investigator for the spacesuit project, said in a press release.
Draper will develop an early stage Earth-based prototype to demonstrate the capability on a human arm at first. The lab said the space suits could be ready for use as a feature in astronaut spacesuits in five to 10 years.
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