The US Navy unleashed the monstrous Kraken on NASA, allowing the space agency to use the amazing machine for an upcoming study that could help it mitigate the effects of spaceflight on astronauts.
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A group of 24 active-duty personnel will be able to ride the 50-foot (15-meter) machine for 60 minutes, spinning like a dirty sock inside a washing machine at accelerations up to three times the force of gravity to simulate what astronauts experience during spaceflight, NASA says. announce Wednesday. The grueling flight aims to help scientists come up with ways to reduce symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness once astronauts exit their spacecraft.
Sometimes the hardest part about going to space is getting there. Astronauts can experience severe motion sickness during their launch into space, as well as during their return to Earth. “Soon after the space shuttle took off, I felt like I was on a merry-go-round as my body searched for what was up, down, left, and right,” said NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, in a NASA statement.
NASA writes that the Kraken can simulate different types of flight for “passengers disoriented by abrupt shifts in roll, pitch, and yaw, superimposed on horizontal and vertical lurches.” Seems like the worst type of theme park ride I’ve ever been on, but this ride is a necessary evil.
For the upcoming study, the Kraken will be in a dedicated spaceflight setting, as opposed to the settings reserved for airplane pilots, Allowing NASA scientists to study whether certain head movements can help relieve motion sickness for astronauts after their flight, according to NASA. “With the ability to move six directions on its axis, the device can simulate complex flight scenarios that would be difficult to recreate on Earth, including landing scenarios that can cause dizziness and nausea,” said Laura Bollweg, who directs astronaut health research at Johnson Space Inc. to NASA. The center in Houston said in the statement.
After 24 volunteers exit the Kraken, 12 of them will perform specific head tilts and tilts while wearing video goggles to track head and eye movements. The glasses measured how much the participants blinked, as well as changes in heart rate, and other indicators of motion sickness. The volunteers will also answer questions about how they feel.
The other half of the group will not perform head movements, but all 24 volunteers will be asked to perform four tasks: testing their balance while standing on foam with eyes open and closed, and walking for 33 minutes. feet (10 meters) to test their speed, and test their endurance on two others minutes of walking, and the time it takes to complete the standing and walking test that involves skipping an obstacle. These may seem like easy tests, but the tasks are sure to be much more difficult to perform afterward.A minute ride aboard the Kraken.
“Anecdotes from astronauts suggest that performing slight head movements helps them regain a sense of balance more quickly,” Michael Schubert, a Johns Hopkins University neurophysiologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Tests with the Kraken will allow us to pinpoint precisely what, if any, head movements help astronauts quickly regain their sense of balance.”
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