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ambiguous tilt and translation motion cues in astronauts after space flightAdaptive changes during space flight in how the brain integrates vestibular cues with visual, proprioceptive, and somatosensory information can lead to impaired movement coordination, vertigo, spatial disorientation, and perceptual illusions following transitions between gravity levels. This joint ESA-NASA pre- and post-flight experiment is designed to examine both the physiological basis and operational implications for disorientation and tilt-translation disturbances in astronauts following short-duration space flights. The first specific aim is to examine the effects of stimulus frequency on adaptive changes in eye movements and motion perception during independent tilt and translation motion profiles. Roll motion is provided by a variable radius centrifuge. Pitch motion is provided by NASA's Tilt-Translation Sled in which the resultant gravitoinertial vector remains aligned with the body longitudinal axis during tilt motion (referred to as the Z-axis gravitoinertial or ZAG paradigm). We hypothesize that the adaptation of otolith-mediated responses to these stimuli will have specific frequency characteristics, being greatest in the mid-frequency range where there is a crossover of tilt and translation. The second specific aim is to employ a closed-loop nulling task in which subjects are tasked to use a joystick to null-out tilt motion disturbances on these two devices. The stimuli consist of random steps or sum-of-sinusoids stimuli, including the ZAG profiles on the Tilt-Translation Sled. We hypothesize that the ability to control tilt orientation will be compromised following space flight, with increased control errors corresponding to changes in self-motion perception. The third specific aim is to evaluate how sensory substitution aids can be used to improve manual control performance. During the closed-loop nulling task on both devices, small tactors placed around the torso vibrate according to the actual body tilt angle relative to gravity. We hypothesize that performance on the closed-loop tilt control task will be improved with this tactile display feedback of tilt orientation. The current plans include testing on eight crewmembers following Space Shuttle missions or short stay onboard the International Space Station. Measurements are obtained pre-flight at L-120 (plus or minus 30), L-90 (plus or minus 30), and L-30, (plus or minus 10) days and post-flight at R+0, R+1, R+2 or 3, R+4 or 5, and R+8 days. Pre-and post-flight testing (from R+1 on) is performed in the Neuroscience Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center on both the Tilt-Translation Device and a variable radius centrifuge. A second variable radius centrifuge, provided by DLR for another joint ESA-NASA project, has been installed at the Baseline Data Collection Facility at Kennedy Space Center to collect data immediately after landing. ZAG was initiated with STS-122/1E and the first post-flight testing will take place after STS-123/1JA landing.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Clement, G.
(Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Toulouse, France)
Harm, D. L.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Rupert, A. H.
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Beaton, K. H.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Wood, S. J.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2008
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Meeting Information
29th Annual ISGP Meeting: Life in Space for Life on Earth(Angers)
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