Wanna Know What Spaceflight Feels Like? Strap On This Patch

Illustration for article titled Wanna Know What Spaceflight Feels Like? Strap On This Patch

There are plenty of elements of spaceflight astronauts can prepare for, but the disorienting return back into our atmosphere has long been hard to replicate. This patch, which sends an electrical current to nerves behind the ears, gets it right.

Advertisement

The galvanic vestibular stimulation system—if it sounds scary, that's because it kinda is—was developed by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City to give astronauts, especially first-timers, the odd, physical sensation of returning from space.

The GVS system's electrodes are taped behind the ears and deliver a 5-milliamp current to the vestibular nerve. The hope, actually, is that the current will cause the subjects to botch their landings—the electrodes' currents are intended to scramble signals to the brain, causing pilot errors similar to those that occur during the disorienting reentry.

Advertisement

While GVS techniques aren't new, the portability of this particular device is a breakthrough, and researchers say it could help train astronauts for the difficult task of landing on Mars. In that case, I say, let the milliamps fly! [Wired]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

kaisermachead
kaisermachead

The curiosity is too strong. If ever given the chance I'll jump right in to test it.