Gastrocnemius medialis contractile behavior during running differs between simulated Lunar and Martian gravities

Charlotte Richter, Bjoern Braunstein, Benjamin Staeudle, Julia Attias, Alexander Suess, Tobias Weber, Katya N Mileva, Joern Rittweger, David A Green, Kirsten Albracht

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


The international partnership of space agencies has agreed to proceed forward to the Moon sustainably. Activities on the Lunar surface (0.16 g) will allow crewmembers to advance the exploration skills needed when expanding human presence to Mars (0.38 g). Whilst data from actual hypogravity activities are limited to the Apollo missions, simulation studies have indicated that ground reaction forces, mechanical work, muscle activation, and joint angles decrease with declining gravity level. However, these alterations in locomotion biomechanics do not necessarily scale to the gravity level, the reduction in gastrocnemius medialis activation even appears to level off around 0.2 g, while muscle activation pattern remains similar. Thus, it is difficult to predict whether gastrocnemius medialis contractile behavior during running on Moon will basically be the same as on Mars. Therefore, this study investigated lower limb joint kinematics and gastrocnemius medialis behavior during running at 1 g, simulated Martian gravity, and simulated Lunar gravity on the vertical treadmill facility. The results indicate that hypogravity-induced alterations in joint kinematics and contractile behavior still persist between simulated running on the Moon and Mars. This contrasts with the concept of a ceiling effect and should be carefully considered when evaluating exercise prescriptions and the transferability of locomotion practiced in Lunar gravity to Martian gravity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number22555
JournalScientific Reports
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 19.11.2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Gastrocnemius medialis contractile behavior during running differs between simulated Lunar and Martian gravities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.