LIVING ALOFT: Human Requirements for Extended Spaceflight


[Artist Robert Shore]






[19] Considerable study has been directed toward understanding how physiological functioning is affected by weightlessness (Nicogossian and Parker, 1982) and other concomitant spaceflight stresses such as radiation (Tobias and Grigor'yev, 1975), decompression (Rayman and McNaughton, 1983), acceleration (Waligora, 1979), etc. There has been substantially less concern about understanding behaviors which may change as a direct result of these biomedical alterations. The present chapter will examine the behavioral implications of biological changes associated with space travel. The behavioral implications of various countermeasures used in the treatment of biomedical alterations are also addressed. This analysis focuses on those biomedical topics that have possible behavioral/performance implications: physiological deconditioning, alterations in the vestibular system, and changes in perception and processing of the visual system.

Until recently, spaceflight crews have been a generally homogeneous group, usually male pilots in top physical condition and trained with rigorous endurance tests. For future spaceflight, we need to understand how different groups of humans may adapt to and function in the spaceflight environment. The present chapter will investigate issues of human adaptability to the biomedical stressors of space and, where data exist, will compare demographically distinct subgroups.