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Medicine

Skin-Tight Bodysuits Could Protect Astronauts From Bone Loss 158

jamie passes along a report about research from MIT's Man-Vehicle Laboratory into using "superhero-style" skinsuits to combat the effects of extended stays in microgravity on bone density in astronauts. (Abstract.) Quoting: "Astronauts lose 1 to 2 percent of their bone mass for each month they spend in space. As far back as the Gemini missions, conditioning exercise regimes have been used to slow the rate of bone loss, but a 2001-2004 NASA-sponsored study showed that crew members aboard the International Space Station were still losing up to 2.7 percent of their interior bone material and 1.7 percent of outer hipbone material for each month they spent in space. ... With stirrups that loop around the feet, the elastic gravity skinsuit is purposely cut too short for the astronaut so that it stretches when put on — pulling the wearer's shoulders towards the feet. In normal gravity conditions on Earth, a human's legs bear more weight than the torso. Because the suit's legs stretch more than the torso section, the wearer's legs are subjected to a greater force — replicating gravity effects on Earth." See? Seven of Nine's outfit was inspired by science after all.

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