An Analysis of Human Performance in Simulated Partial-Gravity Environments

by Nathan R. Moore, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Cent NASA, Houston, United States,
David J. Gutierrez, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Cent NASA, Houston, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III

Abstract: Three unique partial gravity test environments; parabolic flight, water immersion and a mechanical-relief device provide the environment to evaluate human locomotion, reach sweeps, and posture in the reduced gravity levels of the Moon (1/6) and Mars (3/8). The development of a motion analysis database for 1/6 and 3/8 gravity environments as well as an initial understanding of human motion in low gravity environments are the focus of these experiments. Each of the three partial-gravity simulations provided a unique environment with some specific limitations. Water immersion provides a continuous testing environment but must factor in the effects of water viscosity drag, subject weighting and breathing apparatus. Parabolic flight provides the most realistic testing environment although the test must be interrupted every 40 seconds to execute a complete parabolic maneuver of the aircraft. Mechanical force relief systems also provide uninterrupted testing. However, the body support harness necessary for use of mechanical force relief systems can potentially hinder test subject movement. By using the test results generated from all three test arenas, the Man-Systems Division will create a database of human locomotion specific to the Lunar and Mars gravity environments. The information gathered is being used to enhance the development and design of future human habitation elements.

Subject Headings: Human factors | Paraboloid | Flight | Water management | Moon | Mars | Motion (dynamics) | Databases

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