Future astronauts learn how to keep fit in zero gravity 


Keeping fit in space, space travel and space colonisation will be on the syllabus at this year’s Northern Territory Space School (NTSS) for secondary students.

Charles Darwin University Associate Professor in Exercise and Sport Ian Heazlewood said that physical exercise was vital to survive space travel and remain fit enough for the body to function once astronauts arrived at their destination.

“There are a lot of differences how the body functions at 1 G on Earth compared to zero gravity in space,” Dr Heazlewood said.

“The cardiovascular system, pulmonary system and the muscular skeletal system decline in the human body without stimulus. It is extremely important that physical activity in space provides enough stimuli to compensate for the lack of gravity to reduce the decline of these physiological functions.

“When astronauts arrive back on earth they are usually confined to a recumbent bed for several days so their bodies can recover.”

Dr Heazlewood said the NTSS students would learn some techniques on how to stay fit in space and the realities of long-term space travel.

President of NTSS and Mayor of Palmerston Robert Macleod said the aim of the NTSS was to provide an opportunity for NT school students to learn more about the various fields of science.

The NTSS began yesterday and will run until tomorrow, 28 July.

CDU sponsors the event, in conjunction with the Northern Territory Government Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Defence.