Astronauts are subject to sensorimotor disturbances when they enter a new gravity environment, such as the lunar or Mars surface. These disturbances can disrupt their abilities to carry out mission tasks. Previous research has shown training will lead to faster adaptation to new environments.
Dr. Jacob Bloomberg and his colleagues are developing a comprehensive training program that will enhance astronauts’ ability to “learn how to learn,” leading to rapid adaptation to a new gravity environment. The team has designed and is testing a unique training system comprised of a treadmill placed on a motion base facing a virtual visual scene that provides a variety of sensory challenges that serve as training modalities to enhance sensorimotor adaptability. The researchers are determining how to optimize training to maximize efficacy, efficiency and retention of the training program.