Exposure to an extreme environment comes at a sensorimotor cost

Kyoung Jae Kim, Yoav Gimmon, Sharmeen Sorathia, Kara H. Beaton, Michael C. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Long duration space flight is known to induce severe modifications in the sensorimotor and musculoskeletal systems. While inflight strategies including physical fitness have been used to prevent the loss of bone and muscle mass using appropriate rehabilitative countermeasures, less attention has been put forth in the design of technologies that can quickly and effectively assess sensorimotor function during missions in space. The aims of the present study were therefore (1) to develop a Portable Sensorimotor Assessment Platform (PSAP) to enable a crewmember to independently and quickly assess his/her sensorimotor function during the NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) and (2) to investigate changes in performance of static posture, tandem gait, and lower limb ataxia due to exposure in an extreme environment. Our data reveal that measuring the degree of upper body balance and gait regularity during tandem walking using PSAP provided a sensitive and objective quantification of body movement abnormalities due to changes in sensorimotor performance over the duration of mission exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Journalnpj Microgravity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the NEEMO mission support team, the Florida International University Aquarius Habitat support team, and NEEMO 21 and 22 crewmembers for working diligently to collect the PSAP data. We thank Aristo Wong from Xsens for help ensuring extra equipment available for data collection. Funding was provided by private donations and in part by NASA through the Human Research Program grant (NNX10AO19G) and the Department of Defense (W81XWH-15-1-0442).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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