Space Center Houston study mimics life as an astronaut in space

Nick Natario Image
Friday, August 16, 2019
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Balance study prodiving astronaut-like experience

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you've ever wanted to see what it was like to be an astronaut, Space Center Houston is making it happen with its latest study.

There were a lot of near-falls Thursday at Space Center Houston. No matter the age, people simply couldn't keep their balance.

"It was exciting, but it was also very difficult," participant Laurie Newman explained.

Newman is one of several people who took part in a balance study at Space Center Houston. The museum is working with the Baylor College of Medicine to test how age impacts balance.

To get an accurate reading, people go through a series of solid ground tests, and then move to density foam.

"It's got strength to it, but not the kind of strength to where it gave a lot," Newman explained.

The foam also proved difficult for the youngest participants.

"It was harder than I thought it would be," participant Judith Allison said.

You must be between the ages of 4 and 90 to participate.

NASA needs more information on balance. It currently does this study with astronauts, but it's hoping a wide range of participants will provide more data.

"How amazing to do what they get to do, on a very small scale, but I got to do something that they get to do," Newman said.

Once the study is complete, researchers will compile data, and release findings in a few years. The results won't only help NASA, but doctors when it comes to children.

Researchers hope testing children will better explain falls during sports, and problems that come with it. An out-of-this world experience that could help NASA travel to deep space.

"You can experience what they go through, and also contribute to the wealth of knowledge needed to get us beyond low earth orbit," said Phyllis Friell, education manager at Space Center Houston.

To learn more about the study, visit the Space Center Houston Website.

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