Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance:  Reaching and Grasping (GRASP) - 05.10.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The purpose of the Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance:  Reaching and Grasping (GRASP) investigation is to better understand how the central nervous system (CNS) integrates information from different sensations (e.g. sight or hearing), encoded in different reference frames, in order to coordinate the hand with the visual environment. More specifically, the science team seeks to better understand if, and how, gravity acts as a reference frame for the control of reach-to-grasp.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Joseph McIntyre, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Joseph McIntyre, College de France, Paris, France

Information Pending

Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, France

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
European Space Agency

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2016 - September 2017; September 2017 - February 2018

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be the first to use the Perspectives virtual reality gear in space and take part in the Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance: Reaching and Grasping (GRASP) experiment.
Virtual reality headsets offer a way to understand how an astronaut’s brain adapts to its new environment. The GRASP experiment uses a new headset supplied by France’s space agency CNES. GRASP will see astronaut Pesquet reaching for virtual objects, so that researchers can understand how important gravity is, compared to the other senses, when reaching for an object.


A head-mounted display, driven by an audio/graphics system (virtual reality engine):  a 3D motion analysis system (tracker) is used to update the visual and audible displays in real time to take into account movements of the head, trunk, arm and tool (hand).
The Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance:  Reaching and Grasping (GRASP) experiment is designed to make use of the 3D tracking system (CODA) that is uploaded as part of the GRIP experiment, coupled with a laptop computer to generate the stereo images and a head-mounted display to be uploaded specifically for this experiment.

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Space Applications
Living in space requires adaptation from more than just the astronaut’s body. The absence of a traditional up or down requires the brain to adapt to the microgravity environment of spaceflight. This investigation provides further insight into how the body adapts to the microgravity environment.

Earth Applications
The research can help researchers to better understand the workings of the human vestibular system and how it connects to the other sensory organs. In other words, it will achieve a better understanding of the physiology behind eye-hand coordination, as well as shedding light on how to best treat the loss of vestibular function on Earth. This research will also be useful in helping astronauts during spacewalks.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

A full test session, consisting of a full set of tests in both the upright and tilted postures, shall be performed at least 3 times prior to flight, with at least 10 days between test sessions. At least one of the 3 test sessions shall be performed no earlier than 30 days prior to launch.
In-flight:  Number of Sessions
One full session No Later Than (NLT) FD15. One full session No Earlier Than (NET) FD110 and NLT FD130. An in-flight session consists of two sub-sessions, one performed in a seated (restrained position) and one performed in the quasi-free floating posture.
An initial, reduced session (10-15 min) NLT Return (R)+3.
A first full test session shall be performed NLT R+7. If the first full session can be scheduled prior to R+4, then the reduced session is not required.
A second full test session, including a full set of tests in both the upright and tilted postures, shall be performed no earlier than 14 days after return to Earth.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Additional GRASP information from the European Space Agency

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