NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server
Risk of Impaired Control of Spacecraft/Associated Systems and Decreased Mobility Due to Vestibular/Sensorimotor Alterations Associated with Space flightControl of vehicles and other complex systems is a high-level integrative function of the central nervous system (CNS). It requires well-functioning subsystem performance, including good visual acuity, eye-hand coordination, spatial and geographic orientation perception, and cognitive function. Evidence from space flight research demonstrates that the function of each of these subsystems is altered by removing gravity, a fundamental orientation reference, which is sensed by vestibular, proprioceptive, and haptic receptors and used by the CNS for spatial orientation, posture, navigation, and coordination of movements. The available evidence also shows that the degree of alteration of each subsystem depends on a number of crew- and mission-related factors. There is only limited operational evidence that these alterations cause functional impacts on mission-critical vehicle (or complex system) control capabilities. Furthermore, while much of the operational performance data collected during space flight has not been available for independent analysis, those that have been reviewed are somewhat equivocal owing to uncontrolled (and/or unmeasured) environmental and/or engineering factors. Whether this can be improved by further analysis of previously inaccessible operational data or by development of new operational research protocols remains to be seen. The true operational risks will be estimable only after we have filled the knowledge gaps and when we can accurately assess integrated performance in off-nominal operational settings (Paloski et al. 2008). Thus, our current understanding of the Risk of Impaired Control of Spacecraft/Associated Systems and Decreased Mobility Due to Vestibular/Sensorimotor Alterations Associated with Space flight is limited primarily to extrapolation of scientific research findings, and, since there are limited ground-based analogs of the sensorimotor and vestibular changes associated with space flight, observation of their functional impacts is limited to studies performed in the space flight environment. Fortunately, many sensorimotor and vestibular experiments have been performed during and/or after space flight missions since 1959 (Reschke et al. 2007). While not all of these experiments were directly relevant to the question of vehicle/complex system control, most provide insight into changes in aspects of sensorimotor control that might bear on the physiological subsystems underlying this high-level integrated function.
Bloomberg, Jacob J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States) Reschke, Millard F. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States) Clement, Gilles R. (Wyle Science, Technology and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States) Mulavara, Ajitkumar P. (Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States) Taylor, Laura C.. (Wyle Science, Technology and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
October 1, 2015
September 21, 2015
Behavioral SciencesSpace Transportation And Safety
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