Motion Perception: Vestibular Adaptation to G-Transitions (MOP) - 09.17.14
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Science Objectives for Everyone
Motion Perception: Vestibular Adaptation to G-Transitions (MOP) will provide insight in the process of vestibular adaptation to a gravity transition. Adaptation will be assessed by rating motion perception as a result of body movements. MOP will also correlate susceptibility to space adaptation syndrome (SAS) with susceptibility to sickness induced by centrifugation (SIC). The experimental results will allow the team to establish the time course of the adaptation process and thereby set a further step in the determination of key parameters in vestibular adaptation.
Science Results for Everyone
Sometimes scientific research can be nauseating. The first few days in space, most crewmembers suffer from space adaptation syndrome, aka motion sickness, and researchers suspected changes in gravity level is to blame. This investigation provides scientific evidence for previous anecdotal observations that sickness induced by a centrifuge correlates with susceptibility to space sickness. Researchers also confirmed that transition from one gravity environment to another causes problems with the perception of motion versus actual movement of the body. These results provide a validated model to assess and study space adaptation syndrome on Earth for the first time.
TNO Human Factors, Soesterberg, , Netherlands
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
October 2003 - October 2009
Previous ISS Missions
- During the first days in space 50-80 % of the crewmembers suffer from the space adaptation syndrome (SAS). Motion Perception: Vestibular Adaptation to G-Transitions (MOP) will examine the hypothesis that susceptibility to SAS correlates with susceptibility to sickness induced by centrifugation (SIC).
- This is of interest since a correlation implicates a general vestibular adaptation mechanism to changing G-levels. The vestibular adaptation to gravity transitions forms the focus of the current experiments.
- Susceptibility to SIC will be assessed after a 1 hour 3g centrifuge run, the susceptibility to SAS and vestibular adaptation process will be the focus of the inflight experiment.
The main scientific objective of this experiment is to gain insight into the process of how the body's vestibular system adapts to the absence of gravity. In humans, the vestibular system together with visual information determines the body's coordination, posture and balance and the perception of movement and orientation.
The adaptation in the vestibular system will be assessed by comparing the perception of motion against the real movement of the body. To this end, the astronaut will be asked to fill in a short questionnaire every day during the spaceflight, wherein he reports his motion sensation as a result of head movements around the three principal axes. Head movements are important in the experiment as the inner ear is the location of the sensory organs of the vestibular system.
The astronaut will also be questioned on whether he experiences any discomfort regarding space adaptation syndrome, commonly known as `space sickness', caused by their daily activities. A second objective of the Motion Perception experiment is to correlate an astronaut's susceptibility to space sickness with a susceptibility to sickness induced by centrifugation. Sickness induced by centrifugation is a condition with similarities to space sickness. A pre-flight ground experiment will be performed wherein the astronaut's susceptibility to sickness induced by centrifugation is assessed by exposing him to hypergravity (approximately 3g) in a centrifuge.
Vestibular adaptation to a gravity transition is assessed by rating motion perception as a result of body movements. To this end, the cosmonauts are asked to fill in a short questionnaire every day during the spaceflight, wherein they report their motion sensation as a result of head movements, and whether they experience any discomfort regarding SAS caused by their daily activities. Emphasis will lie on the effect of head movements around the three principal axes. To correlate susceptibility to SAS with susceptibility to SIC, prior to the spaceflight, a ground experiment is performed wherein the cosmonauts susceptibility to SIC is assessed. The cosmonaut will be exposed to hypergravity (a load of 3Gx for 1 hour) in a human centrifuge. Before and after the centrifuge run, some vestibular tests are performed 3D-tilt chair, operated in the pitch mode. to identify possible adaptation parameters
Nooij SA, Bos JE, Bos JE, Groen EL, Bles W, Ockels WJ. Space sickness on earth. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2007 September; 19(5-6): 113-117.
Ground Based Results Publications
Bles W, de Graaf B, Bos JE, Bos JE, Groen EL, Krol JR. A sustained hypergravity load as a tool to simulate space sickness. Journal of Gravitational Physiology. 1997; 4: 1-4.
Nooij SA, Vanspauwen R, Bos JE, Bos JE, Wuyts FL. A re-investigation of the role of utricular asymmetries in Space Motion Sickness. Journal of Vestibular Research. 2011; 21(3): 141-151. DOI: 10.3233/VES-2011-0400. PMID: 21558639.
Groen EL, Bos JE, Bos JE, de Graaf B. Contribution of the otoliths to the human torsional vestibulo-ocular reflex. Journal of Vestibular Research. 1999; 9: 27-36.
Mert A, Bles W, Nooij SA. Hyperventilation in a motion sickness desensitization program. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 2007 May; 78(5): 505-509.
Bles W, de Graaf B. Postural consequences of long duration centrifugation. Journal of Vestibular Research. 1993; 3: 87-95.
Ockels WJ, Furrer R, Messerschmid E. Simulation of space adaptation syndrome on earth. Experimental Brain Research. 1990; 79(3): 661-663.
Bles W, van Raay JL. Pre- and postflight (D-1) postural control in tilting environments. Advances in Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. 1988; 42: 13-17.
The information on this page is provided courtesy of the ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Columbus Mission - European Experiment Programme
Motion Perception experiment for the DELTA Mission. The main objective of this experiment is to gain insight into the process of how the body's vestibular system adapts to the absence of gravity. Image courtesy of TNO Human Factors.
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