What is it about?

It is currently not known if Lunar gravity will have negative effects on astronaut health and safety during long-term exploration missions on the Moon. This terrestrial Lunar analog study investigated the effects of rope-skipping -like hopping on reaction forces when performed under Lunar (hypo-)gravity conditions. Our results show that relatively gentle hopping in Lunar gravity leads to similar musculoskeletal loading of the lower limbs as walking on Earth which implies that long term Lunar exploration missions might not require any sophisticated exercise equipment to counteract the lower gravity - instead simple sub-maximal hopping seems to provide a sufficient stimulus that may be sufficient to maintain physiological integrity of astronauts who are exposed to Lunar gravity for prolonged periods.

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Why is it important?

The results of this study shall be used by planetary habitat designers and operational experts preparing planetary exploration missions to the Moon and beyond. It is important to know that reduced (hypo) gravity can be relatively easy compensated by implementing simple exercises that have only minimal hardware requirements. Moreover, the findings of the current study reemphasize that hopping and jumping exercises can be very effective, cheap and safe exercises for the terrestrial population to promote musculoskeletal health.


Writing this article was a great pleasure and has led to fruitful collaborations with several Universities and research institutions in the UK, in Germany, in Italy and in Denmark that are active to the present day.

PhD Tobias Weber
European Space Agency

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Hopping in hypogravity—A rationale for a plyometric exercise countermeasure in planetary exploration missions, PLoS ONE, February 2019, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211263.
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