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NASA's 20-G Centrifuge Machine 154

Posted by Zonk
from the like-to-see-that-in-an-arcade dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Scientists from NASA and two U.S. universities are using a 20-G centrifuge machine that can simulate up to 20 times the terrestrial gravity to evaluate the effects of hypergravity on humans. This 58-foot diameter centrifuge has three cabins, one for humans -- limited to 12.5 G -- and two for objects and flying hardware. The goal of these experiments is to reduce the adverse effects that space travel can have on astronauts' physical heath. But by studying the health benefits of exercise on astronauts, the researchers also hope to help the rapidly growing senior population who, like astronauts, doesn't exercise much. Read more for additional details and pictures about this NASA's machine."
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NASA's 20-G Centrifuge Machine

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  • by Quantam (870027) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:13AM (#15230823) Homepage
    Amazing 2 in 1 machine assists in space research while extracting information from uncooperative terrorists! A bargain for your tax dollars!
    • It dosn't leave any bruises or marks either. So those pesky human rights people don't have evidence against you... unless some dumbass takes pictures that is.
      • by stjobe (78285)
        It dosn't leave any bruises or marks either

        John Paul Stapp [ejectionsite.com] disagrees (emphasis mine):

        When the Sonic Wind had hit the water brake, it had produced 46.2 Gs of force. And for an astonishing 1.1 seconds, Stapp'd endured 25 Gs. It was the equivalent of a Mach 1.6 ejection at 40,000 feet, a jolt in excess of that experienced by a driver who crashes into a red brick wall at over 120 miles per hour. Only it had lasted perhaps nine times longer. And it had burst nearly every capillary in Stapp's eyeballs.

        • No bruises or marks my ass... hehhee

          You get spun up about 25.5 Gs against a panel, desk edge, or chair for say 5 or 10 mintues (how else will this type of test be useful if under 5 minutes but is supposed to explore deepspace travel?...) and see if you don't come out with a new type of.... (heralding voice here) "THE BENDS". I'm sure they can pump your ass full of nitrogen or some gas, but, in the end (pun intended), your ass will STILL be all busted up inside. Probay the best to come out of it is reduced c
        • Exactly. And the poor guy's tongue sticking out his ass is a pretty clear "bruise" to me.
        • No one said it'd be going at 25 Gs. I'd bet most people would give before 15, and it wouldn't be all at once, they can slowly accelerate them to get the same effect. All this about a joke anyway...
          • It actually states in the article (and even the ./ summary!) that the cabin for humans won't be doing over 12.5Gs, so the point is moot.

            On the other hand, why don't we let this thread go where it wants to? Just because you made a joke doesn't mean the rest of the thread has to be a joke as well.

            Relax, and enjoy das blinkenlights ;)
      • But, whether for scientific or military purposes, if the subjects have died, the device can be named dual information extraction device, or "DIED"...

        But, in the spirit of "Rods from the Gods", "Eye in the Sky" and "Finger of God", and so on... the government can herald:

        DIETY: "Dual Information Extraction Testing Yoke"....

        (cue up all the jokes about being "yoked/yolked" around)
    • This is NOT your father's merry-go-round or Ferris wheel...

      But, NOR is it a torture device, or a gas chamber... It's a reincarnation *acceleration* chamber...(think Reagan era comments on the gas chamber...)

      Officially, it's an Information Secretion Device, though it can cause EXcretion and catonia and rapid weight loss, circulatory problems and acute inverse osteoporosis... But, primarily it has variable speed success at inducing persons of interest to secrete secret informations under otherwise unpossible
    • Nevermind Gitmo... some of these could end up in Guam, Diego Garcia, some hinterland island of the Philippines... some afloat Prison/Afloat Mobyle Einformation Extraction Fasility... anyplace where US anti-torture laws would "normally" appall, umm, apply...

      Would the human inside count as a power source? If the device is properly balanced, the human inside this habit-trail might make this thing qualify as some sort of perpetual motion machine. Maybe NASA will get the first patent!

      We, NASA, on behalf of DHLS,
    • Why to you english-speaking people write Gitmo instead of Guantánamo? Really, that's not a rethorical question, I really want to know.
  • by kitsunewarlock (971818) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:18AM (#15230832) Journal
    I've personally wanted to play around with a "high gravity" machine for a long time. Training in one would be the ultimate experience for any athlete I'm sure. I just wonder if the intense G's would actually strengthen your organs and bones by stress-testing them, so to speak, or just weaken them. Probably the latter.
    • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:38AM (#15230867)
      Certain techniques can strengthen bones. What you speak of, stress-testing them, is a common way of building bone mass among martial artists. Actually they don't have to work at it, it just happens. Bones are an interconnected calcium (among other things) mesh. In between these connections, there are lots of miniature bubbles and air pockets. When the fighter repeatedly hits an object with enough force, the pressure in the bones breaks the weakest parts of the mesh. Later these get built back. But this time they are much stronger, and can withstand more force.

      Since the centrifugal machine is sustained force and not an impulse, I doubt would inherently make your bones stonger. As far as making organs tougher, there are other ways to do that. Having a friend drop a medicine ball on your stomach while you tense it is a great way to toughen your abdomen.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Just remember to tense it. Having a "friend" drop a medicine ball on your stomach while you don't tense it is just painful and damaging.
      • "Since the centrifugal machine is sustained force and not an impulse, I doubt would inherently make your bones stonger."

        Only if they lie flat and don't move. A footfall at 12 gees has to hurt. Even shuffling would be "haul up, smash down".
      • If you happen to be in space, then you would benefit from having an centrifuge, that you could use for a couple hours a day to maintain bone mass. This I think has been proven to work. So, why wouldn't it also work on Earth when you exceed 1 G in it? Sure impulses might be more effective (time per day wise), but it could be difficult (or painful) to administer them to all bones etc..
    • My first thought was "When will the U.S. Olympic training center get one?"

      Not that I give a rat's ass about the olympics, but if you could convince athletes to spend prolonged periods in such a device and train them at that, there's at least a few events that would surely see an improvement that didn't involve performance-enhancing drugs or blood-doping.

      The real engineering feat would be to make a centrifuge pod large enough to not only simulate a high-jump track, but also large enough to provide living qua
      • I was going to spend some mod points on this discussion, but I have to respond to this. I have a degree in exercise science and work with a men's and a women's college volleyball team. There would be almost no benefit to athletes that would live in this type of condition. The results from training are highly specific. There are two obvious ways ( to me at least) this is a problem.

        If an athlete were to train at 2 Gs, let's use olympic weightlifting for this example, they would certainly develop more maxi
        • Pretty much agree with your comment, but not sure the 100 meter dash would benefit. Heavy Gs would stress the cardiovascular system, and might be of benefit to long distance runners, but dashes are largely about harnessing the power of gravity, as running is pretty much controlled falling. Heavy Gs might benefit a weight lifter, as they could get used to the forces, and when they returned to normal Gs, they would retain that power for a small amount of time. Just living in that environment might increase
    • Dude. They could learn to become Super-Saiyans!!
    • I was in a car accident and went from 35 MPH to 0 in about 2 feet (thats the crumple distance the bumper was pushed in). Luckily I was wearing my seatbelt, because the force thru the seatbelt broke 3 ribs, and I broke my right wrist in 3 places on the steering wheel. My left, free hand, left AN IMPRINT of my fist in the winshield glass!! I really sprained my neck - couldn't turn to the right more than 30 degrees for about a month, and sprained my shoulder on the opposite side of my broken wrist.

      Getting

      • Formula One race car driver David Purley [wikipedia.org] survived an estimated 179.8 g in 1977 when he decelerated from 107 mph (172 km/h) to 0 in a distance of 26 inches (66 cm) after his throttle got stuck wide open and he hit a wall. He suffered 29 fractures, 3 dislocations and 6 heart-stoppages.
  • exercise (Score:4, Funny)

    by omeomi (675045) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:20AM (#15230835) Homepage
    help the rapidly growing senior population who, like astronauts, doesn't exercise much

    This seems like a really expensive way to prove that both groups just need to exercise more...
    • I don't get it, they're going to help senior citizens exercise by putting them inside a machine with 20G gravity?
    • This seems like a really expensive way to prove that both groups just need to exercise more...

      Really. Dr. Kenneth Cooper (Dr. Cooper Bio [cooperaerobics.com]) of the Air Force nailed this one more than 40 years ago.

      For people interested in the simple version of how exercise works physiologically I recommend the Covert Baily (M.S. in Biochemistry from MIT) materials. The book Fit or Fat is good, but the video series is not to be missed. Maybe your library has copies. Mine does. Covert is a natural performer and you'll have more
  • Margaritas (Score:4, Funny)

    by achesloc (697690) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @02:28AM (#15230848)
    I just want to know if it can mix a good margarita. My machine broke.
    • "I just want to know if it can mix a good margarita. My machine broke."

      Did you try plugging it into an electrical outlet that you know for sure is operational?

      Did you turn the power switch to the ON position?

      Call NASA!
    • Actually a centrifuge (a traditional one) is the opposite of a mixer. It would remove the mix from the liquid alcohol. I don't know much about margaritas, so pardon my dilettante bartending knowledge.
  • by feyhunde (700477) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:18AM (#15230950)
    I've got a chance to meet a few when I was working on a college project a few years back that had Nasa ties.
    Don Pettit, former ISS Science Officer, was up for around 6 months. You'd think he'd be like that Russian who was too weak to walk and had a critical loss of bone density.

    Nope. He got up, and with in a week was running 10 miles or more a day. He lost essentially no bone density. Freaking fantastic shape he's in. All the astronaut core is like that. It's all about constant exercise and having impact exercise.
    • He was up there for "only" 6 months.

      On the other hand, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko who had to be carried to a hospital was there for about a year. Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov even stayed for 439 days. I can't recall the name of the Russian guy returning to earth quite recently, but afair also he has been up there much longer than 6 months.

      Could it be that the effect is getting worse with time?
    • There's a reason we have different spelling for words that sound alike, and that's because they mean different things.

      Dreadnought ~ "Fearless"
      Astronaught ~ "Starless"?

      I was trying to think of a joke about astronaughts (Star zeroes? Those not astronauts?) but I guess sunday morning coffee hasn't taken effect yet...

      Sorry for being a nitp(r)ick. Your meeting with Don Pettit is very interesting, and confirms my belief that astronauts are indeed very fit.
    • Nope. He got up, and with in a week was running 10 miles or more a day. He lost essentially no bone density. Freaking fantastic shape he's in. All the astronaut core is like that. It's all about constant exercise and having impact exercise.

      I remember there being some talk, not that long ago, that it would be better if astronauts weren't be so fit. The idea was that because you inevitably get out of shape in space --- partly due to the free fall, partly due to being in a very small metal box with little op

  • Awesome! (Score:4, Funny)

    by starwed (735423) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:34AM (#15230969)
    Now I can finally become a Super-Saiyan!
  • Effects (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Aggrav8d (683620)
    From the description, it would also seem that the mere *subject* of high gravity reduced the cognitive functions, impairs the ability to write clearly, and generally gives one the appearance of brain damage. I suppose it was written while sitting in the machine in such a way that blood was forced to the back of the brain, away from the frontal lobes.

    Now to see how many people comment on my own writing abilities as a sign of my equally deteriorated mental state. ;)
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:41AM (#15230984) Journal

    a 20-G centrifuge machine that can simulate up to 20 times the terrestrial gravity

    Geez, no shit sherlock. I wonder how much G earth gravity is?

    I can understand if this bit of info has to be included in say a BBC report but this is supposed to be a place filled with geeks and nerds who could work out for themselves that 20G is 20 times the G force of earths gravity. Even the americans should be able to handle the math involved. The canadians might need help. The dutch? It is sunday morning. To stoned to care. Not that it being sunday morning has anything to do with that.

    • "Geez, no shit sherlock. I wonder how much G earth gravity is?

      I can understand if this bit of info has to be included in say a BBC report but this is supposed to be a place filled with geeks and nerds who could work out for themselves that 20G is 20 times the G force of earths gravity. Even the americans should be able to handle the math involved. The canadians might need help. The dutch? It is sunday morning. To stoned to care. Not that it being sunday morning has anything to do with that."

      Within minutes

    • If you really want to complain, point out that 'G' is the universal gravitational constant, while 'g' (note: lowercase) is the acceleration of gravity at Earth's surface. Gotta remember to keep those units straight.
  • by zblack_eagle (971870) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @03:52AM (#15231006)
    Zoidberg: Relax, Fry. I'll simply spin you in a high-speed centrifuge, separating out the denser fluid of His Highness.

    Fry: But won't that crush my bones?

    Zoidberg: Oh, right, right, with the bones! I always forget about the bones.
  • by acid_andy (534219) on Sunday April 30, 2006 @04:58AM (#15231123)
    Bond: How fast does it go?
    Goodhead: It can go up to 20Gs, but that would be fatal. 3Gs is equivalent to take-off pressure. Most people pass out at 7.
    Bond: You make a great saleswoman.
    Goodhead: You don't have to worry. This is what we call a chicken switch. You just keep your finger on that button and the moment the pressure gets too much for you, release the button and the power's cut off.
    Bond: Just like that?!
    Goodhead: Oh come on Mr Bond, a 70 year old can take 3Gs!
    Bond: Well the trouble is there's never a 70 year old around when you need one...
  • CT Scanners (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vectra14 (470008)
    We were recently discussing CT scanners in a class... those things spin pretty damn fast, with all of the electronics experiencing something like 20G's... for hours and hours and hours. And the gantry is these days pretty damn heavy and insanely complex (i wonder how they get the data from the spinning sensors? surely not a million sliprings?) I suppose still maybe MRI is more impressive with its multi-tesla QUICKLY changing magnetic fields.
  • Come on guys, are we really that scared of his submissions that we need three tags composed of his name? Why not "centrifuge" or "gravity"?
  • The ultimate plan is to liquify the astronaughts using high G, freeze dry them and send them up in packs of 100 for storage on the ISS. Then they can be work rotated simply by boiling the kettle. Great idea so long as no one mixes them up with the food supply.
  • "Whoa ... heavy."

    "What is this 'heavy'. Is there something wrong with the force of gravity in your time?"
  • You weight a couple ounces more at the poles due to the equatorial bulge. The arctic is at sea level and little more than the antarctic whihc is at mountainous elevation.

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