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PACK & SEND Belconnen Helping to Send Astronauts to Mars

Aug 29 2017
Professor Gordon Waddington (left) and Honours student Ashleigh Marchant (right) work with research volunteers on their proprioception study, performing a series of exercises standing and lying down. Photo: Vanessa Lam
Professor Gordon Waddington (left) and Honours student Ashleigh Marchant (right) work with research volunteers on their proprioception study, performing a series of exercises standing and lying down. Photo: Vanessa Lam

 When astronauts walk on the surface of Mars in the not-too-distant future, they will be able to stand up thanks to current research at the University of Canberra and, in a small part, PACK & SEND Belconnen.

Researchers at the University of Canberra have developed equipment that examines the perception of movement and spatial orientation and are working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on how time in space can dull this sense.  “When astronauts reach Mars after months of space travel, NASA is going to need them to be able to stand, walk, and start their work straight away… and our research is helping NASA reach this goal” Professor Waddington, Australian Institute of Sport Professor of Sports Medicine, said.

Over the last few years, PACK & SEND Belconnen has been sending the University’s equipment to different locations globally for analysis, and ultimately to NASA, which is currently using it in its Astronaut training program.

“This is perhaps the closest many of us will get to contributing to the mission to send humans to Mars,” said Peter Gillberg, owner of PACK & SEND Belconnen.  “We are thrilled that the University of Canberra has entrusted us to ship the equipment for them and, even more so, to be able to watch our local University play a role in helping astronauts take steps on Mars”.

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