MIT AeroAstro — Draper Laboratory Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Countermeasures to Reduce Sensorimotor Impairment in Altered Gravity Environments
Astronauts experience a variety of gravity environments ranging from the microgravity of low earth orbit to over 3G on reentry. It is crucial to be able to maintain normal sensorimotor function during these periods, yet altered gravity has detrimental effects on our vestibular perception. This research is aimed at developing a pre-training routine that astronauts can undergo on the ground that will reduce their sensorimotor impairment during flight. We will first attempt to characterize individual’s adaptation time in hyper-gravity by performing a perceptual task on a short-radius centrifuge. We then hope to implement a pharmacological and variable practice routine to improve this time.
I am especially drawn to research that occupies multiple areas of knowledge. To fully understand gravity and its effects on the human body, we must tie together aerospace and physiology. The most exciting part about studying this relationship is that it pushes us to think about what is next. The idea of living in altered gravity seems like science fiction, yet with research like this, it is much closer than you think.