“Wheel of Death” will save the lives of astronauts on the Moon

Prolonged stay in an environment with low gravity, for example, on the Moon, negatively affects the human body: muscles weaken, bones lose mass, coordination of movements deteriorates. This is especially true for astronauts who go beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. That is why, in order to avoid problems after returning to Earth, they need to exercise during missions.

Illustration of a “Wheel of Death” on the Moon, generated by artificial intelligence

Researchers from the University of Milan have developed a new training method to maintain the physical fitness of future inhabitants of the Moon — running on the inside of a “Wheel of Death”.

Usually, a “Wheel of Death” can be seen in a circus or sometimes as an attraction in amusement parks. The wheel consists of a large ring located horizontally. A participant should run along the inside of the wheel so fast that he does not lose his balance and does not fall. In terrestrial conditions, this is almost impossible due to gravity, so acrobats inside the wheel usually use a motorcycle. But on the Moon, where gravity is much weaker, a person can easily run along the inside of the wheel, which will simulate the load that a person will feel when running normally on Earth.

The top insert shows a “Wheel of Death” used in the study. Its “bare” version is shown on the left. The vertical wall inside the wheel is shown on the right, where experiments with simulated lunar gravity took place. The center depicts a motorcyclist performing during a circus show. Illustration: royalsocietypublishing.org

Researchers from the University of Milan decided to test this idea. They took a “Wheel of Death” with a diameter of 9.4 m and allowed two people to run along its interior. To simulate the conditions of lunar gravity, the participants were additionally supported on ropes, which reduced their weight. Both were able to run safely along the inside of the wheel and descend to the ground after several attempts. By measuring their speed, stride length and impact force, the researchers concluded that the running conditions were similar to those on Earth.

Scientists believe that several sessions of running inside a wheel on the Moon can be an effective training method to maintain the physical condition of future astronauts.

The results of the research were published in the publication of the Royal Society Open Science.

We previously reported on how galactic rays and microgravity caused erectile dysfunction.

According to Space.com

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