For years, Barron Gulak and other deaf men took part in research conducted by the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine during the early days of the American space program, the Washington Post reports.
The research helped NASA, which sponsored the work, to get an understanding of motion sickness and how it might affect astronauts living in a zero-gravity environment.
The men spent days in rotating rooms and went on parabolic flights, floating in zero gravity.
And in one experiment in 1964, which did not take place in a lab, Gulak and the other test subjects went out on a boat into the rough waters off the coast Nova Scotia. The deaf men, it turned out, were immune to the motion sickness that had everyone else on the boat throwing up.
Now the research -- and the participants' stories -- are detailed in an exhibit at Gallaudet University, which opened last month.
“I’m a red-blooded American,” Gulak told the Post. “I wanted to serve our country the best that I could. Being that I’m deaf, I could not join the military. … It was my way of serving.”
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