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All-female crew in water-tank spaceflight study

Written by  Wednesday, 22 September 2021 11:22
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This week 20 women are tucking themselves in a waterbed for five days as part of a dry immersion study to recreate some of the effects of spaceflight on the body. The campaign kicked off yesterday with the first two subjects at the Medes space clinic in Toulouse, France.

Female volunteer in dry immersion study
Female volunteer in dry immersion study

This is the only the second time a dry immersion campaign takes place with all-female participants, and it is a first for Europe. ESA decided to launch the study, called Vivaldi, to address the gender gap in science data.

“There is almost no knowledge about the physiological and psychological effects on women in this research area. An all-female dry immersion study will add to previous male campaigns ran in Europe and Russia,” says Angelique Van Ombergen, ESA’s discipline lead for life sciences.

Volunteers will have limited motion in a monotonous environment and experience changes in body fluids and mobility, as well as in the perception of their own bodies. Results could have great potential to investigate detrimental effects of spaceflight and movement disorders for immobilsed and elderly patients on Earth.


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