Orbital microgravity represents a unique environment, which allows the isolation of variables assumed to be involved in the mechanism of body positioning in space. In this context, the alignment of the trunk axis along allocentric references and the positioning of the body center of mass inside the supporting base compete for the role of the primary-controlled variable when assuming erect posture. This paper reports the quantitative evaluation of the postural strategies exhibited by two subjects with feet fixed to the floor of the space module along a 4-month period of exposure to microgravity. With respect to previous findings in parabolic flights and short term space missions, the analysis focused on long-term process of sensorimotor adaptation to weightlessness. Results show that while trunk-axis orientation is preserved and used as a stable postural frame of reference, the positioning of the body center of mass appears to be significantly biased backward and turns out to be involved in a long-term process of adaptation throughout the entire flight towards the re-emergence of a typically terrestrial postural regulation compatible with equilibrium.
- Life science
- Long-term space flights
- Three-dimensional motion analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas