This is the Kraken, the “monstrous machine” with which NASA wants to make astronauts dizzy in the name of science

This is the Kraken, the “monstrous machine” with which NASA wants to make astronauts dizzy in the name of science

During takeoff and return to Earth, astronauts may experience “motion sickness” with symptoms such as: Loss of balanceNausea and dizziness that can Make it difficult to perform critical taskssuch as landing or exiting a spaceship.

with intention Study in detail The confusion that astronauts can face and the ways in which they can face it Motion sickness can be relievedNASA will usemonster machineThis device is called the “Kraken”, and it is a US Navy device that can forcefully spin its occupants as if they were inside a washing machine.

In addition to its applications in space, Kraken can also help offer treatment options to patients who have it balance problems on the ground.

This is a monster machine.

The Kraken is a 100-ton, 15-meter-long platform located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base that can repeat different types of flights to confuse its passengers. Sudden changes in roll, pitch, or yaw (Typical movements in airplanes or in spaceships), adding up horizontal and vertical jerks.

For NASA, he says The official statementa “space” flight configuration will be used so that agency scientists can study whether a particular technology, in addition to head movements, It can help relieve dizziness experienced by some astronauts.

According to Laura Polweg, who directs astronaut health research at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the Kraken is large and agile, and has the ability to It moves in six directions on its axissimulation “Complex flight scenarios“It is difficult to recreate it on Earth, including downturn scenarios Which may cause dizziness and nausea.

Astronauts feel dizzy from the ‘research’

For the study, NASA and Navy scientists will recruit 24 active-duty members to “ride” on the Kraken for 60 minutes, during which the device will spin them as it accelerates. Up to three times the force of gravity To simulate the experience of astronauts upon their first return to Earth.

After that, 12 volunteers will perform Sets head turns and tilts While wearing video glasses that track head and eye movements.

Using these devices, they will capture measurements associated with motion sickness, and collect data such as The number of flashes from the participants And their heart rate changes, plus they’ll have to answer questions in real time about how confused and ill they feel.

other volunteers They will not make any head movement They will have to complete four tasks: balancing standing on foam with eyes open and closed, their walking speed around 10 meters, resistance in a two-minute walk, and the time it takes to run tests such as running over an obstacle, challenges that are further complicated by dizziness and imbalance.

So far, astronauts’ experiences suggest making “slight movements” of the head It helps them regain their sense of balance It’s faster, says Michael Schubert, the Johns Hopkins neurophysiologist who is leading the study. This, along with the Kraken tests, may help determine what, if any, head movements will help the astronauts Restores its meaning in less time.

A patient with balance problems uses video glasses to measure head and eye movements. The dial he carries allows him to assess his levels of vertigo while experiencing different head movements, in a setup similar to what would be used on the Kraken “pilots”.

If these methods are verified, the astronauts will be able to Adoption of specific protocols to help them better adapt to changes in gravity during spaceflight, especially long and distant missions.

Additional uses for the results

Another application of this study is to see if head movements help patients with balance problems, for which 24 civilian patients He will try to complete the same four tasks with one of the groups with or without gestures beforehand.

These civilian patients are a unique group, as all of them had tumors removed from their inner ears, in an operation that included severing the central nerve to maintain balance, resulting in They often suffer from dizziness and vertigo.

In the event that head movements are confirmed to help these patients, both NASA and the Navy will be able to help get them on the chain Treatments available to the public.

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