NASA uses the dead for testing

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The world of strength and survival tests is a world dominated by people and iron. The testing lab at the Ohio Transportation Research Center is a booming room the size of a good hangar. There is almost nowhere to sit, and the available seats are bare metal without any upholstery. The hall is almost empty - just a sled for shock tests, installed right in the middle, and even a few engineers in protective glasses, constantly pacing back and forth with coffee mugs in their hands. The color scheme of the room almost all consists of orange and red spots - these are warning signs and emergency lights.
Our mortuary looks almost homely.
On it (let's call it “subject F”) are sky-blue underpants and no shirt — as if he is relaxing in his own apartment. He looks really deeply relaxed - as a real dead man should be. He lounged in his chair, putting limp hands on his hips. If our F were alive, he would be pretty nervous now.After a couple of hours under the influence of compressed air, the hefty piston with the tenderness of the oak block will move directly under the seat, to which F will be fastened. Testers will be able to regulate both the force of impact and the position of the chair, depending on what the specific experiment is aimed at. Today, engineers are commissioned by NASA with the new Orion landing capsule, simulating how it will fall from space into the ocean. Mr. F in this experiment plays the role of an astronaut.
In returned spacecraft, each landing is a test of strength. Unlike the space shuttle, which should be replaced by the Orion ship with its booster rocket, this return capsule has neither wings nor any landing gear. It does not fly from space - it just falls. (If President Obama succeeds in closing the Constellation program, the Orion capsule’s sole purpose is to simply fall to the ground and be used as a lifeboat for emergency evacuation of the ISS crew.) This capsule is equipped with shunting engines that can correct the course or slow down orbits, however, to mitigate the landing of their power is not enough.When the capsule enters the upper atmosphere, its wide and flat bottom will brake on the gradually condensing air. Large frontal resistance should slow down the fall of the capsule to those speeds when it is already possible to open the parachute without fear that it will break.
After that, the capsule will smoothly descend into the ocean and relatively gently plop into the water. The impact will be as in a minor road accident - from 2 to 3g, maximum 7g.
It was to mitigate this last strike that the landing on the water was chosen, but even here there are difficulties. The ocean is unpredictable. But what if, at the moment of landing, the capsule receives a side impact from a high wave? It turns out that its passengers need protection not only from overloads associated with a straight vertical fall, but also from side impacts and even from falling upside down.
But whatever focus the ocean throws, we must be sure that the capsule’s crew will remain safe and sound. To do this, here, in a research center, on the sled of a shock test installation in the chairs of the Orion ship, special dummies are rolled over and over again. Recently, in these experiments began to use and these corpses.Information obtained using specialized dummies is insufficient. Their tough design is very convenient for the analysis of frontal or side impacts - that is why they are so attracted automakers. But in order to evaluate how a strike at the time of landing can act on the bone skeleton or human soft tissue, it is highly desirable for researchers to conduct experiments on authentic human bodies. They are among the donated to the needs of science. The tests described here are the result of the collaboration of three organizations: the Testing Center, NASA, and the Injury Biomechanics Research Laboratory at Ohio State University (OSU).
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Alive and dead
Working with the dead, NASA employees are somewhat uncomfortable. They do not use the word "corpse" in their documents. Instead, a euphemism, “a posthumous human object”, was introduced into circulation. The dead bodies are there, where their masters never dreamed to get - on the ships Challenger, Columbia, Apollo1. However, young people look at it much easier. Here are two students near the “subject F” chatter and chuckle, untangling the long wires stretching from the load sensors mounted directly in the bones of the “subject F”. In their eyes, this corpse is in some kind of intermediate area of ​​life.This is no longer a man, but also not just a piece of inanimate tissue. They speak of him as something animated, but they treat him not as something that is capable of experiencing pain.
Now “subject F” is sitting on a high metal chair next to the guides of the shock piston. Yun-Seok Kang, a graduate student at OSU, stands behind him and adjusts with a universal wrench an electronic block the size of a wrist watch right into his open spine. Together with the sensors of dynamic stress, these devices will measure the forces acting on the body during impact. Gloves on Kang's hands glisten with fat. There are many of him here, because of his fingers slipping, Kang's work is not glued. He has been busy for more than half an hour. The dead man at the same time maintains infinite calm.
So, it is necessary to prepare for unpredictable blows from any side - this situation has a good analogy - an accident at a car race. In April 2009, NASCAR racer Carl Edwards, flying at a speed of 320 km / h, crashed into another car. His apparatus took off into the air, and, having scoured like a coin thrown at good luck, hit the wall. After that, Edwards, as if nothing had happened, got out of the car and, without any problems, stumbled away from the scene.How is this possible? We cite an article from the Stapp Car Crash Journal: “It’s all a matter of a correctly calculated and tightly covering cocoon for a pilot”. Pay attention to the choice of words - it is said not “seat”, but “cocoon”. The task of saving a person from unpredictable blows is not much different from the task of packing a fragile vase with the aim of a long-distance crossing. You do not predict how sideways the loader will throw your vase into the body, so you need to protect it from all sides. In racing cars, the seats are tailor-made for each pilot. It is fastened with waist, two shoulder and brass (passing between the legs) straps. The HANS system (Head and Neck Support, head and neck support) does not allow the head to move forward sharply, and the vertical support rollers on the sides of the seat keep the head and back from jerking left or right.
NASA recently refused to use racing car seats as a model for the Orion capsule. First, the riders still ride sitting, not reclining. For astronauts, especially those who have already spent some time in outer space, this is not the best option. Lying down is not only less dangerous - it also insures against loss of consciousness.When we get up, the veins in our legs tighten and do not allow all the blood to flow down. If an astronaut spends several weeks in zero gravity, this defense mechanism is simply turned off. True, there is another problem. “We laid the chair out of the race car on the back, put the test subject in it and asked him to stand on his own,” said Dustin Hometer, a NASA crew survival expert. “The guy felt like a turtle, turned on his back.”
There were also fears that the complex system of the seat belts, which is used in NASCAR races, threatens to significantly delay their release and the astronaut will not have time to leave the Orion capsule. To resolve this issue, Homer and his colleagues conducted several experiments using standard dummies for automotive tests, using only straps to support the head. Homer suggested that I take pictures of how these mannequins, dressed in ordinary clothes from a supermarket, behave. Poor mannequins! Scrolling the video in slow motion, Homert explains: “Here is the head that remains in place, and the whole body is moving forward. We were afraid that the mannequin would be completely spoiled. ”As a compromise, a variant with simplified shoulder straps was chosen.
And here is another difficulty that an astronaut faces. A pile of hoses — air ducts, fittings, cables, switches and connectors — are attached to his spacesuit. You must be sure that the hard parts of the spacesuit during a hard landing will not harm the soft tissues of the astronaut. To do this, "subject F" was dressed up in some kind of imitation of a space suit - many different rings glued him with adhesive tape on different parts of the neck, shoulders and hips. These rings were supposed to imitate the elements of flexibility or the joints sewn into the spacesuit. And one more concern worries testers: in case of landing on one side, one of the rings of the spacesuit's flexibility system (which provides the astronaut with sufficient mobility) can rest on the side support roller and press the astronaut into his arm with such force that a bone fracture is possible.
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Seating the “subject F” in a chair mounted on a percussion sled is not easy. Imagine a dead drunk friend sitting in a taxi. Two students support F for the hips, and another one - under the back. F is lying, legs bent up, - about the same lies a man, if his back legs suddenly cracked near his chair. The process is led by John Bolt, head of the injury biomechanics laboratory at OSU.He shouts to students: “One, two, three!” The piston pusher is aimed at the right side of “subject F”, that is, across the usual movement. This is the most dangerous of all directions.
When the loose head dangles from side to side, the brain dangles inside the skull. This very delicate substance in the process of such a blow is subjected to periodic compression and stretching. A severe side impact can cause brain injury, hemorrhage, edema, and ultimately, coma and death.
Similar things happen with the heart. A heart full of blood can weigh three hundred grams. There is plenty of space around it, and with a side impact, it can dangle freely from side to side, pulling the aorta. If a heavy heart pulls too much on the aorta, they can break away from each other. “Aortic rupture” is the verdict of Homer.
And here "subject F" is ready. We went upstairs to watch what was happening from the control panel. A sea of ​​lights flared and there was a loud sigh. Nothing really dramatic. As compressed air does all the work here, the tests on the shock sled are unexpectedly quiet, the blows are made without a crash.In addition, everything happens so quickly that the eye almost did not notice anything. The whole process is filmed at an ultra-fast frame rate. Then all this can be carefully considered during slow-motion playback.
We clung to the screen. The arm of “subject F” rises under the shoulder strap - exactly where the additional chest strap is removed. It seems as if an additional joint appeared in the arm and it bends where it is not supposed to bend. “This is not good,” someone’s comment is heard.
“Subject F” received a hit corresponding to 12−15g. This is the very point where serious injuries are almost inevitable. The amount of damage received by the victim depends not only on the force of the blow, but also on the time of impact. And the acceleration itself also depends on the time required to stop. If, say, a car stops abruptly, crashing into a wall, in a fraction of a second the driver can go through overloads in 100g. If the same car has a crushable hood (and nowadays such a security tool is no longer a rarity), braking stretches over time and the peak load reaches, say, just a dozen g.This option leaves a lot of chances to survive.
Students shift “subject F” onto a stretcher and load it into a van. At the OSU Medical Center, it will be scanned and X-rayed through. Prints, radiographs, and then the autopsy results will show all the damage caused by the impact, contributing to the general body of knowledge that will help future astronauts not to repeat the fate of "subject F" in the chair of their spacecraft.
Approximately 80 percent of the 20,000 human corpses that are placed at the disposal of American scientists fall into anatomical theaters and laboratories. Thanks to them, new generations of doctors grow out of yellowfin students, while surgeons improve and develop an autopsy technique before testing it on live patients.
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But what happens to the remaining 20 percent of human bodies?
Many are simply buried in a dignified manner if, due to various reasons, they cannot be used for medical purposes. Others seize organs for research and experimentation. In addition, some natural science museums still need human skeletons, although there are few who will be surprised by the latter.
But some corpses are comprehended by a truly amazing fate. Sometimes they are destined to experience adventures that their owners could not even dream of in life.
Here are just some of the real cases of “life after death”, though not at all the kind that preachers broadcast from church pulpits.
Those who wish to become after the death of stars among the museum exhibits, can bequeath their bodies to the exhibition Body Worlds (Worlds of the Body), which has been wandering around the world for many years.
Human corpses are first processed using a plastination technique, in which the blood is replaced by a polymeric composition. The plastic then hardens, and the body embalmed in this way can be placed in any position.
At the exhibition you can see skinned corpses playing basketball and poker, doing gymnastic exercises and even imitating sexual intercourse.
Crash tests on corpses
Over the past 60 years, scientists have regularly used human corpses in crash tests of cars. Of course, commercials do not lie: for the same purpose, special mannequins are used, but not always.
The fact is that the mannequin can only tell you about the force of the impact in a collision.To find out exactly which injuries will be inflicted on a living human body — bruises, scratches, fractures, or lacerations — it is better to use a well-preserved corpse.
According to experts, the use of human bodies in crash tests annually saves the lives of an average of 8,500 people.
Latest Movie Heroes
This is hard to imagine, but sometimes human corpses are actually used in the films. For example, in the famous Hollywood horror movie “Poltergeist” of 1982, a woman who, in one scene, fell into a pool, was attacked by human skeletons.
As recognized, the creators of the picture, buy these skeletons was much cheaper than creating the details themselves, from plastic parts.
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Crucifix post mortem
Pierre Barbe worked as the chief surgeon at the Paris Saint-Joseph Hospital. Therefore, none of the employees decided to protest when the doctor decided out of pure curiosity to crucify an unclaimed corpse of an elderly person.
The fact is that Barbe was fascinated by the idea of ​​proving the authenticity of the famous Shroud of Turin, which was allegedly wrapped up in a dead Jesus Christ. At the same time on matter remained clear imprints of the human body.
In particular, the doctor was interested in traces of blood leaked from the right hand of the Nazareth. Crucifying the senile corpse on the handicraft cross again and again, Barbe tried to find out the exact location of Jesus on the cross on the basis of the traces on the ancient shroud.
Why does a dead man have a penis?
Yes, yes, you heard right. In the last twenty years, people in white coats in the name of science have subjected male sex organs to sadistic trials. Fortunately, their owners will not see this and will not feel it.
For example, in the arteries of the genitals, liquid latex may be injected in order to better examine the blood flow. And in 2005, some "lucky" even managed to provide a posthumous erection.

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