Elastic gravity suits keep astronauts strong and sexy

Spending extended time in space can also be dangerous. Besides the inevitable meteor showers and hostile aliens, astronauts also have to contend with things that are harder to defend against, like slowly losing bone mass. A new elastic jumpsuit may be able to help astronauts stay healthy, and keep them looking like superheroes while doing it.

Here on Earth, our bodies are constantly fighting against gravity to keep us upright. This takes a lot of work, as you may have noticed. In space, where gravity isn't a factor, your body doesn't have to work nearly as hard, and it gets lazy. Over time, astronauts lose both muscle tone and bone mass, which can cause problems when they come back home. To help solve this problem (or at least, mitigate it), MIT's Man-Vehicle Laboratory has developed the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, which is actually able to simulate the pull of gravity in weightless environments.

The concept behind the suit is simple: it's too small. The suit itself is made of an elastic material, with foot stirrups. It stretches to fit, but as it does so, the material exerts a force that pulls your shoulders down towards your feet. As far as your bones and muscles can tell, it's a sort of artificial gravity, and it should help to reduce the 2% bone mass that astronauts lose for each month they spend in orbit. This will be especially important for long stays aboard the ISS, and of course for trips to Mars and beyond.

The suit has been tested here on Earth and is apparently quite comfortable and doesn't restrict movement, meaning that it can be worn while working, relaxing or exercising. And let's be honest: sooner or later, astronauts are all going to have to start wearing matching jumpsuits anyway, because that's how we'll know it's the future.

MVL, via PopSci

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