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Ready for Extravehicular Exploration?

Changes in sensorimotor function during spaceflight are most pronounced immediately following g-transitions. These adaptive changes pose a risk for crewmembers as they perform extravehicular activities during the early mission operations, such as operating a rover vehicle or performing a space walk to traverse from the landing craft to a habitat module. Scientists at USRA's Division of Space Life Sciences are collaborating in a series of pre- and post-flight ISS investigations to correlate changes in physiological function with functional measures of manual control and other operational activities (hatch opening, ladder climbing, emergency egress). Project outcomes will include assessment tools to enable crewmembers and medical personnel understand when crew are ready for certain tasks. This research will also be relevant to establish guidelines for other clinical and operational populations, such as driving with vestibular disease or following mild traumatic brain injury.