Whole-Body Movements in Long-Term Weightlessness: Hierarchies of the Controlled Variables Are Gravity-Dependent
Claudia Casellato ; Alessandra Pedrocchi ; Giancarlo Ferrigno ; - ASI Sponsor
Dec - 2016
DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2016.1247032

journal : Journal of Motor Behavior

Volume : 49 ; Issue : 5
type: Article Journal

Switching between contexts affects the mechanisms underlying motion planning, in particular it may entail reranking the variables to be controlled in defining the motor solutions. Three astronauts performed multiple sessions of whole-body pointing, in normogravity before launch, in prolonged weightlessness onboard the International Space Station, and after return. The effect of gravity context on kinematic and dynamic components was evaluated. Hand trajectory was gravity independent; center-of-mass excursion was highly variable within and between subjects. The body-environment effort exchange, expressed as inertial ankle momentum, was systematically lower in weightlessness than in normogravity. After return on Earth, the system underwent a rapid 1-week readaptation. The study indicates that minimizing the control effort is given greater weight when optimizing the motor plan in weightlessness compared to normogravity: the hierarchies of the controlled variables are gravity dependent.

keywords : control effort, international space station, microgravity, whole-body pointing

Notes : This work was supported by the Italian Space Agency(Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) through the research contractsSLINK (2013-038-I.0) and ELITE-S2 (I-007-10-0).