Gap A7: Develop the most efficient and effective exercise program for the maintenance of VO2 standards.
Last Published:  03/29/18 08:54:54 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Health Countermeasures (HHC)
Status: Open

Note: The exercise program must ensure fitness levels for successful task performance and health standards maintenance.

Initial State:
Both short and long duration space flight result in decrements to aerobic  capacity. Results from space flight and unloading during space flight analog studies clearly show that aerobic exercise is at least partially effective in preventing space flight-associated loss of aerobic  fitness. However, exercise countermeasures regimens for long duration space flight are not yet fully mature. Exercise countermeasures need to protect aerobic fitness such  that they meet or exceed identified aerobic fitness standards for each exploration design reference mission.  Given that future missions beyond low Earth orbit will have constraints that require smaller sized exercise equipment and less physical training time, future regimens will need to be not only highly effective, but also highly efficient and compatible with exercise hardware with a small vehicle footprint.

Interim Stages:
Identification of experimental protocol
Prevent loss of VO2max
Prevent loss of ventilatory threshold or other select submaximal aerobic performance parameters
Refinement of experimental protocol
Protocol validation with exploration hardware


Approach: A variety of hypothesis-driven flight and flight-analog studies examining  efficacy of evidence-based exercise regimens will be implemented in order to reach target closure objectives.


Target for Closure
Definition of a Mars mission exercise program. The program must effectively protect to aerobic fitness standards (see A4) for a Mars mission. Validation of the program must use a Mars transit-like long duration unloading analog on flight-approved hardware for use during Mars missions and include mission constraints as they pertain to the execution of the program (e.g. operating envelope, movement frequencies, duration of continuous use, etc).
Risk Risk of Reduced Physical Performance Capabilities Due to Reduced Aerobic Capacity
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