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Metabolism and Heat Dissipation During Apollo EVA Periods (AP013)
Research Area:
Life support systems
Metabolism and nutrition
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

During the zero-G extravehicular activities (EVAs) performed during the five Gemini missions, considerable difficulty was experienced by the crewmembers. In a space environment which imposed several life support requirements during EVA (the maintenance of a minimum oxygen pressure, the removal of expired carbon dioxide, the provision for useful mobility, and the maintenance of body temperature), the crewmen experienced high work rates and apparent overheating during the Gemini 4, 9, and 11 EVAs. The crewmen also encountered unexpected difficulty performing specific tasks on each of these missions.

Events such as these prompted several researchers to evaluate the effects of one-sixth (or lunar) gravity on the cost of work in a pressure suit. Results, however, were inconclusive. Predictions were made that metabolic costs would decrease with subgravity walking. Other researchers predicted metabolic increases would accompany low traction exercise. Other uncertainties arose from the considerations of lunar terrain and surface composition and their effect on mobility and metabolic rate. In response to these uncertainties, conservative biomedical estimates of the life support requirements were defined on the basis of available data. Although metabolic rates were not measured during the Gemini EVAs, it was clear in several instances that crewmen worked at levels above the heat removal capability of the gas cooled life support system. The Metabolism and Heat Dissipation experiment was therefore performed to determine life support requirements during Apollo EVAs.

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Beggs JC, Goodwin FH. Apollo PLSS: Environmental control of the smallest manned space vehicle. In: NASA Ames Res. Center Second Conf. On Portable Life Support Systems. Windsor Locks Connecticut: Space Systems Department, Hamilton Standard; 1972 Jan. 01: 31-48. NASA Technical Report 72N27109.

Carson MA. Apollo portable life support system performance report. In: Second Conference On Portable Life Support Systems. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; 1972 Jan 01: 49-67. NASA Technical Report 72N27110.

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Waligora JM, Hawkins WR, Humbert GF, Nelson LJ, Vogel SJ, Kuznetz LH. Apollo experience report: assessment of metabolic expenditures. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; 1975. March. NASA Technical Note TN D-7883. [NTRS]

Waligora JM, Horrigan DJ, Kuznetz LH, Schachter P Apollo 17 EVA Metabolic Assessment Preliminary Report.

Waligora JM, Horrigan DJ. Metabolism and heat dissipation during Apollo EVA periods. In: Johnson RS, Dietlein LF, Berry CA, eds. Biomedical Results of Apollo. Washington, DC: NASA Headquarters; 1975:115-128. NASA SP-368. [NTRS]

White SC, Berry CA, Hessberg RR. Effects of weightlessness on astronauts  A summary. In: Life Sciences and Space Research X: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Plenary Meeting, Seattle, Washington, June 21-July 2, 1971. (A72-43381 23-04) Berlin, East Germany, Akademie-Verlag, 1972, p. 47-55.

Extravehicular activity
Energy metabolism
Heart rate
Oxygen consumption

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Data Information
Data Availability
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Elevation change
Heart rate
Metabolic production
Metabolic rate
Oxygen consumption
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Apollo 11 07/16/1969 07/24/1969 8 days
Apollo 12 11/14/1969 11/24/1969 10 days
Apollo 14 01/31/1971 02/09/1971 9 days
Apollo 15 07/26/1971 08/07/1971 12 days
Apollo 16 04/16/1972 04/27/1972 11 days
Apollo 17 12/07/1972 12/19/1972 12 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Eric Gallagher
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)