Crew Conditioning and Recovery on Mars Using Aquatic Therapy
Venkatraman, Rahul Jayavel
MetadataShow full item record
Physiological effects from long-term exposure in partial-gravity environments is one of the most concerning areas of spaceflight. Sustaining a long-duration, manned mission on the surface of Mars requires countermeasures to maintain physical fitness and wellbeing. Currently, astronauts on long-duration missions such as aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are required to exercise for about 2-3 hours per day to minimize bone and muscle loss . As astronauts venture deeper into space and eventually on the surface of Mars, exercise regimes become even more complex. It is not known how humans will acclimate to the partial gravity environment of Mars as missions to the planet have yet to occur. The Apollo missions of the 60s and 70s did not provide sufficient information about long-term exposure of the Moon’s gravity. Nevertheless, an effective solution is required that can (1) provide effective exercises and (2) provide a means of recovery from strenuous and enduring surface activities. Aquatic therapy as a low-cost, effective solution to meet the needs of crew sustainment on Mars for conditioning and recovery with minimum detriments to the human body. The Aquapod is a tool that utilizes aquatic exercises for maintaining physical health and offers a lightweight, unique design that is both adaptable to surface habitat designs. It uses water stored in the habitat that has been extracted from the Martian surface. The purpose of this research was to show that aquatic therapy could be a more optimal tool for exercise compared to traditional methods and that its widely known purpose on Earth could be translated to Mars. The research also looked into the design requirements for maintaining a clean and contained environment to prevent issues such as contamination and water loss. This research emphasized three key areas of design: exercise performance requirements, habitat compatibility requirements, and overall design requirements. The Aquapod is a standalone system that is essential to the crew’s health and well-being during their time on Mars. While it was designed to be an all-in-one aquatic therapy unit, it is a system that could be integrated into any habitat design.