Musculoskeletal Loading During Gravitational Transitions Improvements in Postural Control 2003-01-2493
Long-duration space travel will require improvements in exercise countermeasures so that astronauts are able to maintain cardiovascular fitness, bone mass and the ability to perform coordinated movements in a terrestrial environment following extended periods of “near weightlessness” encountered during transit to and/or obit of the Moon, Mars, and Earth. In such gravitational transitions feedback and feedforward postural control strategies must be recalibrated to ensure optimal locomotion performance. Current data suggests that specific, short duration musculoskeletal loading, following running in simulated Martian gravity using a vertical suspension type simulator, reduces the time required for re-adapting to steady-state performance of the postural control system during a novel, treadmill based precision stepping task. Possible enhancements to the current exercise countermeasures program are suggested.