His team has been developing a Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation system (GVS) that can safely induce the sensory and mobility disturbances that are often experienced by astronauts when returning to Earth’s gravity.
The system developed uses large electrodes placed behind the ear to deliver small amounts of electricity (5 milliamp) to the vestibular nerve, which then sends the signal onto the brain and causes motor and sensory disturbances.
The human body is adapted to Earth and its gravitational force, with our brains receiving and interpreting the information sent from sensory organs, such as our eyes and our inner ear vestibular organs. When in the microgravity environment of Space, the pattern of information is changed with the gravity sensitive inner ear no longer functioning as it would on Earth. Many astronauts will suffer from Space Motion Sickness, disorientation and a loss of sense of direction early in the mission, before adapting to their new ‘weightless’ setting within a few days. When returning to Earth’s gravity once more though, they must readjust again and can experience problems standing up, walking and turning, and stabilizing their gaze. These disturbances can affect an astronaut’s vision and neurological functions, potentially affecting operational activities including the ability to safely land a spacecraft.
Thus, the development of a new tool that can safely simulate the vestibular disturbances experienced in Space can prove valuable.
"You can train for spaceflight tasks under normal conditions on Earth, but that will not give you an indication of what an astronaut will feel like," Dr. Moore said. "The GVS system will make mission simulations more realistic. This will be quite useful for astronaut training, especially for astronauts that have not flown before."
Want to see a video showing the effects of the GVS? Click the link below;