Posted on November 29, 2016 by julien
The Mares machine
The Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System, or Mares for short, is a muscle-measurement machine on the International Space Station that monitors astronauts’ muscles as they work out.
Muscle strength decreases during spaceflight and researchers need to know why this happens in order to prepare for long-duration missions and safe space tourism. Mares is a physiology instrument that offers detailed information about how muscles behave during spaceflight.
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is setting up Mares in the European Columbus laboratory this week.
Colleague ESA astronaut Samantha did an initial test-run during her Futura mission on the International Space Station in 2015. She set up the machine and checked that the motors move as planned but did not take a place in the chair as an experiment subject.
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen performed a second part of the Mares commissioning during his ‘ iriss’ mission in 2015 by deploying the machine in its ‘ Ankle Configuration’ to get data on his ankle movements. This run validated the machine for more use for scientific experiments in the future.
Andreas was the first astronaut to use the machine to take measurements in space on himself but Thomas will be the first test subject whose data will be used by researchers for their study.
Mares is a big machine and is kept stowed away when not in use. Thomas will spend multiple days unpacking, setting up and using Mares.
Mares is a complex machine and has no equal that offers this type of fine control and measure the user’s reaction.
During the days of work the CADMOS User Support and Operations Centre in Toulouse, France, will support the operations. User operators will be on hand to answer any questions the astronauts have and suggest solutions to any problems encountered.