Date: Year 1, Sur One, Sol 4 (1.1.4)
The International Space Station (ISS) taught us a valuable lesson. Floating around in a weightless environment is not good for the human body. Even with 5 hours of daily exercise astronauts have experienced significant loss of muscle mass. Most of the astronauts studied were in space six months or less, and Mars Mission astronauts will likely spend a year or more in space.
We have the ability to create an artificial gravity by designing our spacecraft to rotate the sections occupied by humans. Our solution to this is to have sections (or ‘quills’) perpendicular to the main core of the craft or station, and have the entire ship rotate on the long axis. This means that an astronaut works and lives in a group of three-story quill sections that provide a gravity environment similar to Earth.
In addition, the astronauts exercise every time they climb up into the core, or climb down into another quill. This avoids wasting time on exercising and allows the astronauts to focus on other activities.
Both the ESS Sagan and the ESS QEII have been placed into rotation and are providing a gravity environment for the astronauts and workers preparing the ships for their launches. We are still evaluating the results of gravity environments and their impact on preventing muscle wasting, but the data so far is very encouraging.