Train like an Astronaut

with Nasa Solar System Ambassador Janelle Harrier Wilson and "Rocket" Ross

Welcome to your Astronaut Training

My name is Janelle. I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida watching shuttle launches and staring at the stars. My first visit to Kennedy Space Center happened before I was two, and that's when the space bug bit. I have been a lover of space exploration and astronomy ever since.

I now teach secondary science, am a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and and love to explain science and astronomy concepts and sharing what NASA is up to, especially to students.


It is important for an Astronaut to be fit and healthy. As we are limited to an hours exercise or within our own homes at the moment, I have designed this Astronaut training program to help you get moving, have fun and gain your Astronaut Training Certificate.


The activities, demonstrated by "Rocket" Ross in the videos below, utilize the same body parts/systems as astronauts do in training and on missions in space.


You need to perform each exercise for 30 seconds / 1 minute, recording how many you have done before moving onto the next exercise. Certain exercises require you to hold the position - in which case you will hold it for as long as you can and write down the time. Perform all exercises once and then repeat two to three times a week. Make sure to record the amounts and times so you can see if you are improving.


Its important to make sure you are hydrated, warm up for at least ten minutes before by maybe going for a short walk or jogging on the spot and always cool down and stretch afterwards to help prevent injury.

Star Jumps

Mission Question: How could you perform a physical activity that would increase bone strength, as well as heart and other muscle endurance? You will perform star jumps to increase bone strength and to improve heart and other muscle endurance.


Space Fact: On Earth, your weight on your bones provides a constant stress. You maintain your bone strength by doing regular daily activities like standing, walking, and running! In space, astronauts float – unloading that important stress and weakening their bones. Therefore they depend on nutritionists and strength and conditioning specialists at NASA to plan food menus and physical activities that will help them keep their bones as strong as possible while in space. Stronger bones will help astronauts stay safer while performing all of their assigned tasks – whether in a space vehicle, on the moon, Mars, or once back on Earth.


Body Balance - Left

MISSION QUESTION:How could you perform a physical activity that will improve your sense of balance? You will perform a body balance - left to improve your sense of balance and coordination and strengthen your muscles.


Space Fact: On the Earth we rely on gravity, not just to keep our feet on the ground but also to help us to work out things like, ‘Where is the ground?’; ‘Which way is up?’; ‘Where are my arms and legs?’.


Without the effect of gravity to act as a signal, the weightlessness of space can be a very confusing place to find your feet.

 

We use a network of fluid-filled channels to help us keep our balance. This network is called the vestibular system and is found inside the inner-ear. It identifies the pull of gravity and relays this information to the brain. Without gravity, the vestibular system can’t relay all the necessary information that an astronaut would normally rely on to tell which way is up and which way is down.

 

So its important that we practise our balancing - because when we go to Space we will be disorientated as we wont know what is up, or down or left or right. Knowing how our body moves and feels will help us with this.

Body Balance - Right

MISSION QUESTION:How could you perform a physical activity that will improve your sense of balance? You will perform a body balance - right to improve your sense of balance and coordination and strengthen your muscles.


Space Fact: On the Earth we rely on gravity, not just to keep our feet on the ground but also to help us to work out things like, ‘Where is the ground?’; ‘Which way is up?’; ‘Where are my arms and legs?’.


Without the effect of gravity to act as a signal, the weightlessness of space can be a very confusing place to find your feet.

 

We use a network of fluid-filled channels to help us keep our balance. This network is called the vestibular system and is found inside the inner-ear. It identifies the pull of gravity and relays this information to the brain. Without gravity, the vestibular system can’t relay all the necessary information that an astronaut would normally rely on to tell which way is up and which way is down.

 

So its important that we practise our balancing - because when we go to Space we will be disorientated as we wont know what is up, or down or left or right. Knowing how our body moves and feels will help us with this.

Spaceship Squats

Mission Question: How could you perform a physical activity that would improve heart, lung, and muscle endurance? You will perform squats to develop lower body strength in muscles and bones.

Space Fact: Astronauts must perform physical tasks in space that require strong muscles and bones. In a reduced gravity environment, muscles and bones can become weak, so astronauts must prepare by strength training. They work with NASA strength and conditioning specialists on Earth and continue to work in space to keep their muscles and bones strong for exploration missions and discovery activities

Climb a Martian Mountain

Mission Question: How could you perform a physical activity that would improve upper body strength and balance? You will perform a climb simulation activity to improve your sense of balance and coordination and strengthen your muscles. Space explorers in a far future might need to be good and stable climbers to explore mountainous landscapes on planets in our Solar System, like the impressive volcanoes on the Martian surface.

Space Fact: During the basic training and sometimes in preparation of a space mission, astronauts perform activities aimed at strengthening upper body muscles, whole body stability and balance, flexibility and agility. European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts mostly train on artificial walls, however climbing can also be done outside on the rock or in a climbing garden with challenging stations several meters of the ground. ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli is keen on rock climbing and he is not the only one. NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski said that ‘one of the best ways to prepare for a spacewalk is rock climbing. It takes a lot of strength and endurance’. Similarly in preparation for a space mission, also climbing activities requires a training, mental focus and physical fitness.Planets of the Solar System feature impressive mountains: Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain on Mars and in the Solar System: it is 3 times as tall as Mount Everest!

Anti Gravity jumps

Mission Question: How could you perform a physical activity that would improve balance, leg strength and core? You will perform knee slaps to develop lower body strength, leg muscles, balance, core and explosive power.


Space Facts: Scientists in the 1980s spent a fair amount of time figuring out the best way to navigate low-gravity terrain. They compared hopping, skipping, walking, and running on treadmills in earth gravity to the same activities at low gravity. Based on oxygen consumption, it turns out this giddy astronaut is right: if you're on the moon, hopping is the way to go! This exercise will get you used to the technique.

Push ups – G force

Mission Question: How could you perform a physical activity that would improve heart, lung, and muscle endurance? You will perform push ups to develop upper body strength in muscles and bones

Space Fact: Astronauts must perform physical tasks in space that require strong muscles and bones. In a reduced gravity environment muscles and bones can become weak, so astronauts must prepare by strength training. They work with NASA strength and conditioning specialists on Earth and continue to work in space to keep their muscles and bones strong for exploration missions and discovery activities.

Walking on the Moon

Mission Question: How can you perform a physical activity that will improve your leg muscles and balance? You will perform lunges to improve your lower body strength and balance.


Space Fact: How Astronauts walk on the Moon depended on how fast they wanted to move. For short distances the astronauts found they could walk fairly normally. As soon as they sped up, they were unable to sustain a walking motion.

NASA originally proposed a "kangaroo hop" whereby the astronauts would hop with both feet and then land with both feet. Aldrin found this to be very awkward and unnatural. The "lope" (as Armstrong named it) turned out to be a good compromise.


This exercise will strengthen your leg muscles and help you "hop" / "lope" for longer.

Float in space

Mission Question: How can you perform a physical activity that will improve your abdominal and back muscles? You will perform the "superman" to improve the strength in abdominal and back muscles.


Space Fact: Astronauts in space must be able to twist, bend, lift, and carry massive objects. They must have strong core muscles so they can perform their tasks efficiently and avoid injury. In order to maintain muscle strength while in space, astronauts practice core-building activities before, during, and after their missions. Here on Earth these activities may include swimming, running, weight training, or floor exercises. In space, astronauts use specialized equipment to maintain an exercise routine to keep their core muscles fit for the job.

Lift off’s

Mission Question: How could you perform a series of physical activities that would improve your lungs and heart, and increase muscular coordination and endurance? You will perform "lift off" burpees to improve your lungs, heart and increase your muscular co-ordination and endurance.


Space Fact:There are many reasons astronauts must have strong muscles and bones. In a reduced gravity environment, muscles and bones can become weak, so astronauts must engage in strength training to counter the weakening effect of zero gravity. Also, when working on the ISS and exploring in space, astronauts have to be fit to perform spacewalks or move objects that are hundreds of kilograms! How do they do all of that? Before, during, and after living in space astronauts work closely with exercise specialists to train hard and keep their muscles and bones strong for exploration missions and discovery activities. Activities that exercise the whole body are important to prepare for the challenges involved with living and working in space.

Zero G- Cycling

MISSION QUESTION:How could you perform a physical activity that will strengthen your leg muscles? You will simulate cycling in space to strengthen your leg muscles.


Space Fact: Physical exercise is part of the daily routine of astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Muscle and bone carry less load in weightlessness and get weaker; about 2 hours of daily exercise slows down muscle loss and loads the bones in the skeleton. The ISS has an exercise cycle which provides bone strength exercise for the legs. When the large leg muscles work they need more blood. Working muscles stimulate the heart to pump more blood, and you breathe faster to get more oxygen in. Cycle training on the ISS also maintains endurance and cardio-vascular fitness of the astronaut. The ISS has an exercise cycle which is used for endurance training. The exercise cycle used by European astronauts on the space station is called the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization, or CEVIS. Cosmonauts, the Russian astronauts, also have a cycle called VELO.

Refueling Stations

It is really important when you are doing any exercise to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water!. Dehydration can affect an your performance and increase the risk of a medical emergency.


Space Fact: Astronauts must maintain proper hydration levels while on an exploration missions. As astronauts reach the space environment, they stop feeling the pull of gravity. The normal functions of the body begin to change as the fluids in the body begin to shift towards the head. As the body detects the extra fluid in the upper body, the body believes there is too much fluid and the body begins to get rid of what it thinks are extra fluids. This large loss of fluids can result in dehydration for astronauts. In order to avoid this dehydration, astronauts must drink lots of fluids while in orbit.


Dehydration can be very dangerous, astronauts must make sure they are not dehydrated while completing their tasks on a mission, whether inside or outsidethe space exploration vehicle, just like they do on earth astronauts need adequate hydration to maintain proper health.

Congratulations on completing your Astronaut Training!

You are now space ready!


Don't forget to download your certificate!

Download your Certificate

This Astronaut Training program has been written with thanks to Nasa Mission X as a guide and for the cool space facts.