Maintaining astronaut health and physical fitness is a major challenge of long-duration spaceflight. NASA has determined that current flight-rated exercise hardware is not appropriate for use on exploration vehicles. Dr. Gregory R. Adams will investigate the effectiveness of a new exercise device for use during long-duration spaceflights. The device is designed to maintain cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness of astronauts by providing high-resistance strength or low-resistance endurance exercises.
The project will have three phases. The first involves subjects using the device to perform strength and cardiovascular exercise during normal gravity conditions. The second and third phases call for subjects to exercise in conjunction with increased levels of inactivity, which simulates conditions of microgravity. Study participants do short-duration interval cardiovascular exercises designed to reduce the time needed for exercise. On alternate days, the device will be configured for strength training, which has been shown to result in increased muscle strength and size.