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Development of Countermeasures to Aid Functional Egress from the Crew Exploration Vehicle Following Long Duration SpaceflightAstronauts experience disturbances in sensorimotor function following their return to Earth due to adaptive responses that occur during exposure to the microgravity conditions of space flight. As part of the Crew Exploration Vehicle design requirements, the crewmember adapted to the microgravity state may need to egress the vehicle within a few minutes for safety and operational reasons in various sea state conditions following a water landing. The act of emergency egress includes and is not limited to rapid motor control tasks (including both fine motor such as object manipulation and gross motor such as opening a hatch) and visual acuity tasks while maintaining spatial orientation and postural stability in time to escape safely. Exposure to even low frequency motions (0.2-2.0 Hz) induced by sea conditions surrounding a vessel can cause significant fine and gross motor control problems affecting critical functions. These motion frequencies coupled with the varying sea state conditions (frequencies ranging from 0.125-0.5 Hz) cause performance deficits by affecting the efficacy of motor and visual acuity dependent skills in tasks critical to emergency egress activities such as visual monitoring of displays, actuating discrete controls, operating auxiliary equipment and communicating with Mission Control and recovery teams. Thus, during exploration class missions the sensorimotor disturbances due to the crewmember's adaptation to microgravity may lead to disruption in the ability to maintain postural stability and perform functional egress tasks during the initial introduction to the Earth's gravitational environment. At present, the functional implication of the interactions between a debilitated crewmember during readaptation to Earth s gravity and the environmental constraints imposed by a water landing scenario is not defined and no operational countermeasure has been implemented to mitigate this risk. Stochastic resonance (SR) is a mechanism whereby noise can assist and hence enhance the response of neural systems to relevant, subthreshold sensory signals. Application of subthreshold stochastic resonance noise coupled to sensory input either through the proprioceptive, visual or vestibular sensory systems, has been shown to improve motor function. Crew members who have adapted to microgravity have acquired new sensorimotor strategies that take time to discard. We hypothesize that detection of time-critical subthreshold sensory signals will play a crucial role in improving strategic responses and thus the rate of skill re-acquisition will be faster, leading to faster recovery of function during their re-adaptation to Earth G. Therefore, we expect the use of stochastic resonance mechanisms will enhance the acquisition of new strategic abilities. This process should ensure rapid restoration of functional egress capabilities during the initial return to Earth G after prolonged space flight. Therefore, the overall goals of this project are to investigate performance of motor and visual tasks during varying sea state conditions and develop a countermeasure based on stochastic resonance that could be implemented to enhance sensorimotor capabilities with the aim of facilitating rapid adaptation to Earth s gravity, allowing rapid CEV egress on water in varying sea states following long-duration space flight.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Mulavara, Ajitkumar (Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Fiedler, Matthew (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Kofman, Igor (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Fisher, Elizabeth (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Wood, Scott (Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Serrador, Jorge (Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, United States)
Peters, Brian (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Cohen, Helen (Baylor Coll. of Medicine Houston, TX, United States)
Reschke, Millard (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Bloomberg, Jacob (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 8, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
NASA Human Research Program Investigators'' Workshop(Houston, TX)
Distribution Limits