Astronauts have a surprising ability to orient themselves and measure distance traveled in space: study | Trending Viral hub

[ad_1]

New research has implications for crew safety in space and could potentially provide clues about how aging affects people’s balance systems here on Earth.

Jörges et al.  addressed the question of whether body posture influences human perception of one's own movement and distance;  found some evidence that the same amount of optic flow can cause a sensation of having traveled farther in the supine position than when sitting upright, that is, optic flow is more effective in causing a sensation of self-movement in the supine position;  this constitutes evidence that visual and non-visual signals are at least partially integrated even when self-motion is presented only visually;  However, they found no significant differences between performance on Earth and in ISS microgravity, suggesting that vestibular cues play a minor, if any, role in the estimation of visually presented self-motion.

Jorge et al. He addressed the question of whether body posture influences human perception of one’s own movement and distance; found some evidence that the same amount of optic flow can cause a sensation of having traveled farther in the supine position than when sitting upright, that is, optic flow is more effective in causing a sensation of self-movement in the supine position; this constitutes evidence that visual and non-visual signals are at least partially integrated even when self-motion is presented only visually; However, they found no significant differences between performance on Earth and in ISS microgravity, suggesting that vestibular cues play a minor, if any, role in the estimation of visually presented self-motion.

“Gravity perception has repeatedly been shown to influence perceptual ability,” said Professor Laurence Harris of York University, lead author of the study.

“The most profound way to see the influence of gravity is to eliminate it, which is why we took our research into space.”

“We have had a constant presence for almost a quarter of a century in space and with space efforts increasing as we plan to return to the Moon and beyond, answering questions about health and safety becomes increasingly important.”

“Based on our findings, it appears that humans are surprisingly capable of adequately compensating for the lack of a normal environment on Earth through vision.

In the research, Professor Harris and his colleagues studied a dozen astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits about 400 km from the Earth’s surface.

“Here the centrifugal force generated by the station’s orbit approximately cancels out the Earth’s gravity. In the resulting microgravity, the way people move is more like flying,” Professor Harris said.

“People have previously reported anecdotally that they felt like they were moving faster or farther than they actually were in space, so this provided some motivation to record this.”

The authors compared the performance of a dozen astronauts (six men and six women) before, during and after their year-long missions to the space station and found that their sense of how far they traveled remained largely intact.

Space missions are busy businesses, and it took researchers several days to connect with the astronauts once they arrived at the space station.

“Our research may not have been able to capture the early adaptation that may have occurred in those early days. It’s still a good news message because it says that whatever adaptation happens, it happens very quickly,” Professor Harris said.

Space missions are not without risks. As the ISS orbits the Earth, it is sometimes hit by small objects that could penetrate the ship and force astronauts to safety.

“On several occasions during our experiment, the ISS had to perform evasive maneuvers,” Professor Harris said.

“Astronauts must be able to go to safe locations or escape from the ISS hatches quickly and efficiently in an emergency. So it was very reassuring to find out that they were actually able to do this quite accurately.”

“Our research shows that exposure to microgravity mimics the aging process on a largely physiological level (bone and muscle wasting, changes in hormonal functioning, and increased susceptibility to infections), but this paper finds that self-movement in “It is largely unaffected, suggesting the balance problems that often come from old age may not be related to the vestibular system.”

“It suggests that the mechanism for motion perception in older people should be relatively unaffected, and that the problems involved in falls may not be so much in terms of the perception of how far they have moved, but perhaps more in seeing with how they can turn that into a reflection of balance.”

He study It was published in the npj magazine microgravity.

_____

B. Jörges et al. 2024. The effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity and body orientation relative to gravity on perceived distance traveled. npj microgravity 10, 28; two: 10.1038/s41526-024-00376-6

[ad_2]

Check Also

Unraveling the secrets of this strange beetle’s 48-hour clock | Trending Viral hub

[ad_1] Unraveling the secrets of this strange beetle’s 48-hour clock New research examines the molecular …

The dark side of nostalgia for wild and unspoilt places | Trending Viral hub

[ad_1] The dark side of nostalgia for wild and unspoilt places A novel about the …

In matters of scientific debate, follow the Houdini rule | Trending Viral hub

[ad_1] In matters of scientific debate, follow the Houdini rule Scientific experience is usually limited …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *