Getting enough exercise in space, without the benefit of gravitational resistance, is absolutely necessary to prevent muscles from atrophying and bones from becoming weak. Astronauts go through length workout routines to keep their muscles going and their heart healthy, but in the future, they might not rely as much on things like treadmills as much as a special exoskeleton designed for exercise.
The 57-pound device is designed to help astronauts exercise mor effectively, an essential component of living in space that helps to maintain muscle and bone strength for the eventual trip back to Earth’s gravity environment. The XI was designed in conjunction with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) as an offshoot of the research and development that went into NASA’s Robonaut.
Providing 10 degrees of movement via four motorized joints at the hips and the knees, NASA believes the device could also be used in the future to assist astronauts working on the surfaces of distant planets.