Release the Kraken!
NASA seems oddly proud to announce that it plans to use a US Navy spinning machine to train its astronauts for the disorientating tumult of spaceflight. And we gotta admit, the device sounds brutal.
"A monster of a machine is now allowing NASA scientists to study on Earth the disorientation that astronauts may encounter in space," NASA gloated in a recent blog post about the Navy's "Kraken," a device that "can vigorously spin occupants like laundry churning in a washing machine."
According to NASA, the collaboration is meant to help "build strategies that aim to ease motion sickness."
And while the Kraken sounds like a nightmarish carnival ride that has gone off the rails, those strategies may even help "patients with balance issues here on Earth." Go off, NASA!
According to astronaut Douglas Wheelock, the queasiness of going off-world is no joke.
"Shortly after liftoff in the space shuttle, I felt like I was on a merry-go-round as my body hunted for what was up, down, left, and right," Wheelock told the agency. "Crew must prepare for the confusion that they will likely undergo during these gravitational transitions."
And helping astronauts deal with that confusion is apparently the bread and butter of the Kraken, a whopping device that is 50 feet long and weighs 100 tons.
"The first time I saw the Kraken in person, I was impressed by how large and agile the machine is," said Laura Bollweg, an astronaut health research manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, in the blog post.
"With the ability to move six directions on its axis, the device can simulate complex flight scenarios that are difficult to recreate on Earth, including landing scenarios that could induce vertigo and nausea," she added.
Experts say the device could help NASA determine what kind of head movements astronauts need to make to recover their sense of balance, which could make or break the experience of space travel.
Either way, this knowledge significantly dampens our desire to go to space anytime soon, exorbitant costs notwithstanding — enduring an experience that apparently feels like being put through the spin cycle sounds like a big price to pay.
More on the brutalities of space: Scientists Issue Warning About Sex in Space
Share This Article