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Are We There Yet? Podcast

I’m Gonna Be Sick

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Professor John French uses an optokinetic drum, much like this one, to study the effects of motion sickness. Photo: Argent Technologies

John French wants to make people throw up. But don’t worry, it’s for science!

He’s a professor of Human Factors at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach Florida. He’s studying motion sickness, and the effects it has on astronauts. To do that, he makes his subjects sick by placing them in an optokinetic drum: a cylinder with a chair in the middle. The inside is painted with black and white stripes. The cylinder, or drum, then rotates around the subject and in a few minutes they start to feel the symptoms of motion sickness.

So how does this apply to space travel? And what other physiological challenges do humans still have to overcome to spend a long time in space? We take a trip to John’s lab to find out.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »