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Microgravity/Moon/Mars Gravity Question

  1. Mar 19, 2009 #1
    Just curious about the following:

    I know it has been shown that astronauts living in a microgravity environment such as the space labs for an extended period of time develop all sorts of physiological problems such as muscle atrophy, reduced cardiac output, and decreasing bone density, among others.

    My question is this: Given that the Moon has about 16% of Earth's gravity and Mars has about 38% of Earth's gravity, would that provide protection against the atrophy effects that occur in a microgravity environment?

    Furthermore, has it been studied whether these effects are linear, exponential, binary, etc? In other words, does a situation of 80% Earth gravity result in a 20% weakening of the human systems? Or is it similar to time dilation effects in that one must start to get relatively close to a microgravity state before the problems set it, but then they start to set in severely? or, is there an absolute threshold where problems set in, such as anything less than 75% of Earth gravity?

    I would < ASSUME >, emphasis on ME, that the perniciousness of the effects would increase in proportion to the decrease of the gravity field, but we all know what happens when one assumes something... :-)

    Thanks for any insights, and I promise not to make any bad puns about how this topic has been weighing heavily on me...
  2. jcsd
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