“Moon Gait: investigating walk patterns in reduced gravity”, IAC-17,A2,IP,1,x38877, IAC 2017, Adelaide, Australia

Type: 
Contribution to Conference
Year: 
2017
Authors: 
Schlacht IL, Rittweger J, Mukadam MM, Feuillard R, Daumer M, Masali M, Kuehnegger W, Foing B - Proceedings of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Adelaide, AUS, September 25-29, 2017

During the Apollo missions, it was discovered that on the Moon, people
have a completely different way of moving and walking. Currently the DLR
(German Aerospace Center) is running a study coordinated by Prof. Jörn
Rittweger (head of the 'Space Physiology' division at the DLR institute)
to investigate human-machine system interaction in hypogravity in order
to design interfaces that will support the user in these extreme
conditions.

This paper is a summary review of the thesis "Moon Gait: Investigating a
methodology for analysis of hypogravity gait posture for architecture
design in space" (Mukadam, 2017). In particular, videos of a first group
of six participants were analyzed, who were moving at two different
speeds (11.5 & 4 km/h) and three kinds of simulated gravity (1g,
0.6g and 0.3g) on a vertical treadmill where the subject is able to walk
vertically. In this position, gravity no longer has any influence on
the subject's vertical axis and hypogravity can be reproduced using a
special type of software that calculates the tightness of the string
where the subject is belted. The methodology included video analysis
using the Tracker software for measuring the change of vertical
oscillation (variation in the height given by the oscillation of the top
of the head while walking) and OAE (Frankfurt Plane, a line from the
tragus of the ear through the zygomatic bone in the middle of the ocular
bulb) (Mukadam, et al., 2017). The results of the pilot study were used
to formulate a hypothesis that is also applicable to Moon hypogravity.

This pilot experiment with weight reduction using the vertical treadmill
confirmed that the walking altitude between the two different speeds is
normally different on Earth, and brought about the hypothesis that
there is a homogenization of the vertical oscillation on the gait at
slow and fast speeds that is not present in the normal behavioral
pattern on Earth. This work motivates the need for collaboration between
different fields such as physiological research and human-machine
interaction in order to realize successful space exploration.