Spending six to nine months hurtling toward Mars in a 316-cubic-foot capsule would be ample excuse to skip a workout for most people.
But astronauts planning to pioneer a new planet will need to stay fit. NASA’s Exploration Exercise Equipment project developed the Resistive Overload Combined with Kinetic Yo-Yo (ROCKY) to be a compact, multi-functional exercise machine. The whole thing is the size of a large shoebox and takes up one cubic foot of space, and contains a servo-motor “programmed to deliver a load profile that feels very similar [to] free weights.” As seen in the concept art above, it’s still a squeeze in the Orion crew module.
“Astronauts will be able to use the device like a rowing machine for aerobic activity and for strength training with loads of up to 400 pounds to perform exercises such as squats, deadlifts and heel raises, as well as upper body exercises like bicep curls and upright rows,” the release states. Impressive for a shoebox with a cord attached.