Houston, we have a slight case of nausea

NASA referred to its KC-125 aircraft as the “weightless wonder” because it carried college students and their experiments into micro-gravity by flying in parabolic patterns to create an environment of near weightlessness. But most members of S&T’s Miners in Space program in the early 2000s knew it as the “vomit comet” for its motion sickness-inducing flight pattern. S&T students boarded the aircraft — and later a C-9 and Boeing 727 — to conduct experiments in near-zero gravity as part of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. Their experiments helped NASA better understand how conditions aboard spacecraft could affect situations considered normal on earth. Many S&T projects involved welding experiments, but Miners in Space students also tested cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in microgravity.

“CPR is a lifesaving treatment that’s used when an individual’s heart either stops beating or is in an irregular rhythm that results in little to no blood circulation,” said Keenan Johnson, president of Miners in Space in 2012 and a 2014 computer engineering graduate. “As space flight duration increases and the general populace starts to journey into space, the likelihood of an event should drastically increase, and is almost inevitable.”

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