Bodies In the Space Environment: Relative Contributions of Internal and External Cues to Self - Orientation, During and After Zero Gravity Exposure (BISE) - 07.15.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone Bodies in the Space Environment: Relative Contributions of Internal and External Cues to Self-Orientation, During and After Zero Gravity Exposure (BISE) will evaluate adaptation to, the effect of, and recovery from long-duration microgravity exposure on the perception of orientation of ISS crewmembers.

Science Results for Everyone

Which way is up? On Earth, it is easy for us to tell by using our eyes, and feeling the force of gravity on our body. This experiment looks at how visual perceptions are affected when gravity is absent. Researchers measured the perceived up and down orientation in astronauts before, during, and after long-duration spaceflight and on subjects on Earth while standing up and lying down.  Results show a reduction in visual influence throughout six months in orbit and up to six months after returning to Earth.  It is concluded that long-term exposure to microgravity does change which sensory inputs astronauts rely more on to determining up and down.



The following content was provided by Laurence R. Harris, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Laurence R. Harris, Ph.D., York University, North York, Ontario, Canada

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Andrew M. Liu, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States
  • Charles M. Oman, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States
  • Heather L. Jenkin, Ph.D., York University, North York, Ontario, Canada
  • James E. Zacher, York University, North York, Ontario, Canada
  • Michael R. Jenkin, Ph.D., York University, North York, Ontario, Canada
  • Richard T. Dyde, Ph.D., York University, North York, Ontario, Canada

  • Developer(s)
    York University, North York, Ontario, Canada

    Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, , France

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2009 - September 2010

    Expeditions Assigned
    19/20,21/22,23/24

    Previous ISS Missions
    Increment 19/20 was the first mission for BISE.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Bodies in the Space Environment: Relative Contributions of Internal and External Cues to Self-Orientation, During and After Zero Gravity Exposure (BISE) will conduct experiments during long-duration microgravity conditions to better understand how humans first adapt to microgravity and then re-adapt to normal gravity conditions upon return to Earth.


    • BISE involves comparisons of preflight, inflight, and postflight perceptions and mental imagery, with special reference to space flight-related decreases in the vertical component of percepts.

    Description
    The Bodies in the Space Environment: Relative Contributions of Internal and External Cues to Self-Orientation, During and After Zero Gravity Exposure (BISE) investigation involves having subjects view a computer screen through a cylinder that blocks all other visual information. The subjects will be presented with various background images containing different up and down orientations, on top of which they'll see a letter that could be either a "p" or a "d" depending on its orientation. Crewmembers will indicate which letter they see to determine the transition point at which they can't recognize the letter.

    This BISE test will enable the researchers to measure the relative importance of visual and body cues to the subjects’ perception of "up" and measure the influence of various cues and demonstrate which ones are the most important. The scientists are also studying the process by which the brain combines multiple pieces of information about the same thing and produce the correct answer.

    BISE will conduct experiments during long-duration microgravity conditions on the International Space Station to better understand how humans first adapt to microgravity and then readapt to normal gravity conditions upon return to earth. BISE will also establish a relationship between different measures of orientation perception: OCHART, shape-from-shading and luminous line and whether these may be differently influenced preflight and postflight.

    Studies done in an aircraft that produce brief periods of microgravity suggest that, in the absence of gravity, people rely more on body cues than vision to tell them which way is up. This study will examine whether the same is true on the Space Station. Scientists noted that the Station can be "tricky" because it contains different modules that are not all in a straight line. An astronaut in one module who perceives the floor to be where their feet are may become disoriented when they float into another module. Crewmembers often go through a right angle to go between one module and another, therefore whatever corresponds to the ground in one module will not necessarily match in another module. Scientist stated that these issues may also affect astronauts during spacewalks. When the astronauts go outside of the spacecraft, they must adjust their orientation and use whatever visual cues they have.

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    Applications

    Space Applications
    Findings from the BISE experiment are expected to help to learn more about how astronauts perceive up and down in microgravity, thus creating a safer work environment in space. BISE uses the space environment to improve the safety of space travel by designing countermeasures against specific problems.

    Earth Applications
    Tools developed for the BISE experiment can also help people on Earth who experience balancing problems or are prone to falling, including seniors and people with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements
    ISS crewmembers will perform sessions preflight, inflight and postflight. For the inflight sessions ISS crewmembers will have to setup the hardware prior to each session.

    Operational Protocols
    BISE preflight baseline data collection (BDC) is planned to occur anytime within launch minus (L-) 180 +/- 40 days. The preflight session consists of 1 session per subject for a duration of 1.8 hours. The inflight sessions are planned for 105 minutes per subject per session. Four inflight sessions are planned per increment. One Flight Day (FD) session (Session 1) per each half of the increment is planned for FD+10 (+/-5) days, and one Return (R) session (Session 2) is planned per each half of the increment during R-15 (+/-10) days. A minimum of 60 days is required between Sessions 1 and 2 during the first half of the increment. Two postflight BDC sessions are required consisting of 2 sessions per subject for 2.1 hours each at R+15 +/- 5 and R+60 +/- 15. No early retrieval is required.

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

      Dyde RT, Jenkin MR, Jenkin HL, Zacher JE, Harris LR.  The effect of altered gravity states on the perception of orientation. Experimental Brain Research. 2009; 194(4): 647-660.

      Haji-Khamneh B, Harris LR.  How long do intrinsic and extrinsic visual cues take to exert their effect on the perceptual upright?. Vision Research. 2009 Jul; 49(16): 2131-2139. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2009.06.003. PMID: 19508877.

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
    CSA BISE Pages

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    Imagery

    image BISE operations on KC-135. Image courtesy of CSA.
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    image NASA Image: ISS019E005704 Astronaut Michael Barratt,Expedition 19/20 flight engineer,performs the BISE experiment in the Destiny laboratory module.
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    image NASA Image ISS020E007545 - European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 20 flight engineer, uses Neurospat hardware to perform the Bodies in the Space Environment (BISE) experiment in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.
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    image NASA Image: ISS020E010310 - Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, Expedition 20 flight engineer, uses Neurospat hardware to perform the Bodies in the Space Environment (BISE) experiment in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. The Canadian Space Agency-sponsored BISE experiment studies how astronauts perceive up and down in microgravity.
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