We’ve often heard of the weird ways astronauts have to eat while in outer space. Nourishment is essential to human survival to the point even rather unappealing dehydrated meals are an invaluable companion for a space adventure. But in order to protect astronauts’ lives and accomplish a space mission, there are plenty more details that NASA has to take care of. Among them, one is often overlooked but vital to say the least. We’re talking about astronaut seats, which at the American space agency enjoy the attentions of a dedicated team of engineers and designers. Such seats have to resist enormous 3G pressure and support the astronauts body adequately, yet their weight needs to be kept as low as possible. While not many official details about NASA seats have been made available, their concept is based upon lightness, adjustability and endurance. If the importance of seats is not marginal for a space mission, the impact of a good posture and comfortable seating on our daily life shouldn’t be underestimate, either. A unique case is the automotive world, where fatigue through long journeys can impact the driver’s safety and eventually lead to fatal accidents caused by exhaustion. In this respect, it is very interesting to see how one of the world’s top carmakers, Nissan, has made NASA-inspired “zero-gravity” seats both a main feature and selling point of its new Nissan Altima. Flanking the similarly priced new Nissan Sentra in Dubai, this car is going to follow the company’s philosophy of affordable luxury and comfort.
Building on NASA’s priceless posture research data, the new seats have a peculiar shape which provides support to the whole vertebral column in order to reduce loads on all parts of your body. Fatigue is thus kept to a minimum, and trips are made safer even when many hours are spent on the road. While their real impact on driver experience will certainly vary depending on drivers’ preferences, Nissan’s very own ‘zero-gravity’ seats are a very interesting feature which can hopefully inspire other carmakers to invest more of their attention towards making new cars an even safer place. With drivers feeling increasingly more comfortable, it is to be believed that fatigue-induced accidents will decrease accordingly.
Images courtesy of Nissan