Dr. Thornton was a physician crew member on the Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT). SMEAT was a 56-day simulation of a Skylab mission enabling crewmen to collect medical experiments baseline data and evaluate equipment, operations, and procedures.

Along with pilot Karol "Bo" Bobko and commander Bob Crippen, Dr. Thornton conducted various tests in a 20-foot altitude chamber at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in order to determine how the human body and machinery would react to the long-term weightlessness that would be experienced in Skylab, America's first space station.

Dr. Thornton later transferred some of his photos and documents from SMEAT onto 35 mm slides for use in teaching and presenting. These slides have now been scanned and are available here as high-resolution images.

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