Moonwalk with NASA's ARGOS Reduced Gravity Simulator

It'll be capable of handling space suits, robots, Mars gravity or microgravity

By Evan Ackerman
|  Saturday, Nov 5, 2011  |  Updated 9:00 AM PDT
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Moonwalk for Real in NASA's Low Gravity Simulator

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We're very lucky that the Earth just so happens to have exactly one g worth of gravity. If it had more, we'd be exhausted all of the time, and if it had less, we'd have to get used to an entirely different style of movement. NASA's new ARGOS reduced gravity simulator is designed to simulate reduced gravity, to help astronauts learn how to moonwalk.

ARGOS stands for "Active Response Gravity Offload System." It works by using a computer controlled overhead crane and a harness that soak up a portion of your weight, depending on what level of gravity you want to simulate. The way that it differs from other, similar systems is that the computer makes sure that it's only offloading force in the vertical direction: unlike a more traditional cable and harness system, you're not feeling any sideways tugs as you move around. Check out the video below, and watch the crane constantly adapting its position based on the movements of the user.

nasa_argos2.jpg

ARGOS isn't quite finished, but when it is, it'll be capable of handling everything from space suits to robots, all the way from Mars gravity down to the microgravity that we'll need to practice in for our first visit to an asteroid.

Via NASA

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