Weighing the Impact of Microgravity on Vestibular and Visual Functions
Numerous technological challenges have been overcome to realize human space exploration. As mission durations gradually lengthen, the next obstacle is a set of physical limitations. Extended exposure to microgravity poses multiple threats to various bodily systems. Two of these systems are of particular concern for the success of future space missions. The vestibular system includes the otolith organs, which are stimulated in gravity but unloaded in microgravity. This impairs perception, posture, and coordination, all of which are relevant to mission success. Similarly, vision is impaired in many space travelers due to possible intracranial pressure changes or fluid shifts in the brain. As humankind prepares for extended missions to Mars and beyond, it is imperative to compensate for these perils in prolonged weightlessness. Possible countermeasures are considered such as exercise regimens, improved nutrition, and artificial gravity achieved with a centrifuge or spacecraft rotation.
College of Arts, Sciences and Technology
Communications, Behavioral, and Natural Sciences
Dontre, A. J. (2024). Weighing the impact of microgravity on vestibular and visual functions. Life Sciences in Space Research, 40, 51–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lssr.2023.12.003