A novel variable-gravity simulation method: potential for astronaut training.
Zero gravity conditions for astronaut training have traditionally used neutral buoyancy tanks, and with such tanks hypogravity conditions are produced by the use of supplemental weights. This technique does not allow for the influence of water viscosity on any reduced gravity exercise regime. With a water-foam fluid produced by using a microbubble air flow together with surface active agents to prevent bubble agglomeration, it has been found possible to simulate a range of gravity conditions without the need for supplemental weights and additionally with a substantial reduction in the resulting fluid viscosity. This new technique appears to have application in improving the simulation environment for astronaut training under the reduced gravity conditions to be found on the moon or on Mars, and may have terrestrial applications in patient rehabilitation and exercise as well.
Sussingham, JC; Cocks, FH
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