Space travel is about to get a whole lot sexier! Researchers at MIT are working on a prototype for a skintight bodysuit that will help astronauts mitigate bone loss while outside earth’s orbit. Made of elastic mesh, the suit applies pressure on the bones, much like what gravity does to landlubbers down here. But although the Gravity-loading Countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS) is helping keeping astronauts’ bodies healthy, it’s also giving them a glammed-down Ziggy Stardust vibe—completely apropos considering that manned missions to Mars are on the horizon.
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MAN OR ASTROMAN?
Managing bone density in space is a weighty issue. In space, astronauts lose about 1 to 2 percent of their bone mass in a month, the same amount a postmenopausal woman loses in a year. Spacefarers are currently exercising two hours daily to lessen bone loss, but the physical activity isn’t enough. Scientists estimate that if we send humans to Mars, astronauts could experience bone fractures even with simple tasks. The body-hugging GLCS, which was developed at MIT’s Man-Vehicle Laboratory, is designed to alleviate that problem.
The suit exerts pressure on the legs and shoulders, similar to what the weight of your body does on Earth.
The suit is sleeveless (apparently arm-bone mass isn’t lost in…um…space), is cut short, and has stirrups that slip under the feet. It exerts a small amount of pressure on the legs and shoulders, similar to what the weight of your body does when you’re standing under the influence of earth’s gravity.
One caveat: The suit isn’t meant to be worn while on space walks—a different suit, which squeezes the body like a fully inflated blood-pressure cuff, is used for jaunts outside a pressurized spaceship. In a spacecraft or on a space station, the GLCS keeps astronaut bones in line with a higher degree of comfort. They’re only as tight as a pair of Lycra bike shorts, and probably make your legs look just as amazing.
[Via Discovery News]