Research, Technology

The first astronauts on Mars won't be able to hear their footsteps. Why is that bad?

Each space suit for NASA astronauts costs 180thousand dollars, and the cost of a suit for spacewalks reaches 15 million dollars. Their high cost is due to the complex structure, because inside the spacesuit there are a number of devices and sensors to provide people with oxygen, monitor their health, and so on. At the same time, the suits are far from perfect - the suits hinder movement, take a lot of strength due to the large weight and are generally uncomfortable. As part of the Apollo missions, astronauts who visited the moon are believed to have fallen 27 times and stumbled nearly as many times. In addition to the fact that the suits do not allow full movement, they almost completely deprive the astronauts of hearing - they talk to each other through microphones and headphones, and they do not hear the surrounding space due to the density of the suit. Recently, scientists have once again become convinced that hearing loss prevents people from walking correctly and provokes falls. It seems that the future colonizers of Mars will be dressed in boots with microphones.

Astronaut space suits are very complex, but still need to be improved.

The role of hearing in code

We do not even notice it, but while walking ourthe body solves a huge number of tasks. In order not to fall, we not only need to see the surrounding space - sounds give us additional information about the distance to objects, as well as the type of surface under our feet: floor, asphalt, gravel, and so on. Scientists have long suggested that people's inability to hear their own footsteps leads to poor proprioception. This is the name of a person's ability to feelthe position of the parts of your body relative to each other and in space. With poor proprioception, there is an increased chance of tripping, falling, or going down the wrong path.

Astronauts often fall on the moon because space suits hinder movement

Why can't people walk straight?

Recently, scientists from the United Arab Emirates decidedcheck how much worse a person starts to move when he does not hear his own steps. The authors of the scientific work invited 14 adults to the laboratory who had no problems with the vestibular apparatus. Volunteers were divided into two groups: the first group took 50 steps with their eyes closed with their ears open, and the people from the second group did the same with white noise headphones so as not to hear the stomp of their own feet.

Why the authors of the scientific work used white noise is not clear - they did not explain the reason for their choice.

It turned out that in the absence of the ability to hearthe stomping of one's own feet; people cannot walk quietly in place. Almost from the very beginning, the volunteers from the second group began to move away - by the fiftieth step they had moved away from the original point by as much as 14.5 centimeters. And people with open ears, if they moved a little to the side, then not much.

See also: SpaceX space tourists will go into outer space and test new spacesuits

Space suits for the Moon and Mars

Considering that being inside the cosmicSince astronauts practically do not hear the surrounding space while wearing a suit, problems may arise with the colonization of the Moon and Mars in the next decade. It would be a pity to watch how astronauts flew to the Moon or Mars on a huge ship worth several million or even billion dollars, stumbled and fell.

Suits for flights to the Moon and Mars

Experts somehow need to provideastronauts with the ability to hear the surrounding space well. Simply making holes in a helmet is impossible for several reasons. First, the atmosphere of Mars and any other planet is dangerous to human health. Secondly, sounds do not travel as fast on Mars as they do on Earth. In order to hear footsteps well, astronomers need a system to multiply the amplification of surrounding rumors. At the moment, it is believed that the best way to do this is to build microphones into astronauts' boots. They will pick up the sounds of footsteps and transmit them to the speakers installed at the head of the suit.

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Will the results of theexperiment when creating new spacesuits is not clear. But it would be nice if the astronauts were given the opportunity to hear the surrounding space - if they constantly stumble, the missions to explore the Moon and Mars could be interrupted. Let's wait for the news, and now I propose to find out what other space suits are, besides space ones - we have an excellent article on this topic.