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These 'Wallace and Gromit' Style Pants Will Prepare Humans for Mars

The weird orange bloomers could help regulate the effects of fluid shifts in our body.

by Emiko Jozuka
Jul 21 2015, 5:00pm

An astronaut sporting an orange Chibis suit. Image: NASA

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These wacky looking orange space bloomers actually have a serious function. Research conducted with them might one day help prepare humans for a flight to Mars.

In a one-year investigation dubbed the Fluid Shifts Investigation, NASA has teamed up with the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) to use these pants to find out how spaceflight affects the human body.

When in space, weightlessness causes fluids to move toward the upper part of an astronaut's body. This can cause intracranial pressure and affect astronauts eyesight, with more than two-thirds of NASA astronauts experiencing vision shifts during a spaceflight.

NASA and Roscosmos want to use these orange pants—more formally known as "lower body negative pressure" or the Chibis suit—to help move fluids back down to the astronaut's lower body from the upper half before they return to Earth.

Laying in reverse, with legs tilted to the sky, and encased in giant orange bloomers might not add to astronaut street cred. But seeing as the experiment offers a non-invasive alternative to measuring the effects of intracranial pressure (a scarier sounding method is the intraventricular catheter, where the skull is drilled into), it wouldn't be surprising if more astronauts opted to sport these orange space pants sooner.

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