All-female crew in water-tank spaceflight study

Author: 
ano

This week 20 women are tucking themselves in a waterbed for five days as part of a dry immersion study to recreate some of the effects of spaceflight on the body. The campaign kicked off yesterday with the first two subjects at the Medes space clinic in Toulouse, France.

Volunteers lay down in containers similar to bathtubs covered with a waterproof fabric to keep them dry and evenly suspended in water. As a result, the body experiences 'supportlessness' - something close to what astronauts feel while floating on the International Space Station.

This is the only the second time a dry immersion campaign takes place with all-female participants, and it is a first for Europe. ESA decided to launch the study, called Vivaldi, to address the gender gap in science data.

"There is almost no knowledge about the physiological and psychological effects on women in this research area. An all-female dry immersion study will add to previous male campaigns ran in Europe and Russia," says Angelique Van Ombergen, ESA's discipline lead for life sciences.

In weightlessness, astronauts' bodies lose muscle and bone density, vision changes and fluids shift to the brain. Finding ways to stay healthy in orbit is a large part of human spaceflight research.

The results from this type of research do not only benefit astronauts but have implications for patients on Earth with similar disorders and elderly people.

https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/All_female_crew_in_water_tank_spaceflight_study_999.html

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