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How Do You Stay Fit on a Mission to Mars?

This mini exercise device could be the key!

Onboard the International Space Station, astronauts need to work out to maintain their bone density and muscle mass, usually exercising 2 hours every single day. Throughout the week, they exercise on three different pieces of equipment–a bike, a treadmill and the Advanced Restive Exercise Device (ARED).

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All these devices are needed to keep an astronaut healthy.

However, deep-space vehicles like our Orion Spacecraft aren’t as roomy as station, so everything — including exercise equipment — needs to be downsized. The Miniature Exercise Device (MED-2) is getting us one step closer to being able to keep astronauts’ bodies healthy on long journeys to the moon, Mars and beyond.

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MED-2 is a compact, all-in-one exercise device that we developed and will be launching to the space station Tuesday, March 22. Onboard the station, we’ll see how MED-2 will perform in microgravity and how it will need to be further adapted for our Journey to Mars. However, it’s already pretty well equipped for deep space missions.

So what makes MED-2 so great for deep space travel and our Journey to Mars?

1. It is an all-in-one exercise device, meaning it can do both aerobic and resistive workouts. When we go to Mars, the less equipment we need, the better.

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2. It’s incredibly light. The MED-2 weighs only 65 pounds, and every pound counts during space missions.

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3. It has 5 – 350 pounds of resistance, despite weighing only 65 pounds. Astronauts don’t all lift the same amount, making the flexibility in MED-2’s “weights” essential.

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4. It’s tiny. (Hence its name Miniature Exercise Device.) Not only is MED-2 incredibly light, but it also won’t take up a lot of space on any craft.

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5. It powers itself. During an aerobic workout, the device charges, and then that power is used to run the resistive exercises. When traveling to space, it’s good when nothing goes to waste, and now astronauts’ workouts will help power the Journey to Mars.

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MED-2 is only one of many devices and experiments flying on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft. To find out more about the science on the space station, follow @ISS_Research and @Space_Station on Twitter.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Source: NASA

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How Do You Stay Fit on a Mission to Mars?

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