"This innovation may be pivotal for the journey to Mars."

The "Gravity Suit"

With funding from NASA, a team of researchers have created a negative pressure "gravity suit" to help astronauts counteract some of the dangers of spending time in microgravity.

Previous research has shown that weightlessness can lead to muscle atrophy and even lead to blood fluid pooling around and squishing their brains.

To counteract these dangers, a team of researchers built a "mobile gravity suit" that applies negative pressure to the lower extremities, shifting blood there. The idea is to generate "ground reaction force," or the force exerted by the ground on a body in contact with it, in order to ensure that muscle and bone density aren't affected by microgravity.

Flexible and Comfy

"The mobile gravity suit is a small, untethered, and flexible intravehicular activity (IVA) suit," the researchers wrote in their paper published in the Frontiers in Physiology journal.

The idea is to give astronauts maximum flexibility while on board a spacecraft, without reducing crew time. "With the gravity suit, astronauts will be able to float freely around the space station while adhering to their every day tasks," the paper reads.

"The negative pressure is generated by its own portable vacuum system, ensuring full mobility, and user-control," the paper reads.

"Once space travel becomes commercialized, this device may ensure the health of future civilian space travelers," the researchers claim. "This innovation may be pivotal for the journey to Mars."

READ MORE: A "Gravity Suit" Could Protect Astronauts From the Dangers of Weightlessness [Real Clear Science]

More on astronaut health: When Astronauts Got Sick on an Apollo Mission, It Was a Disaster

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