Task Development of Countermeasures to Enhance Sensorimotor Adaptation (Bloomberg) (Completed)
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:33 AM (Central)
Short Title: SM Adaptation
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):


During the acute phase of adaptation to novel gravitational environments on exploration class missions sensorimotor disturbances have the potential to disrupt the ability to ambulate and perform functional tasks. These disturbances are likely to impair performance of complex tasks and could, therefore, affect astronaut safety and ultimate mission success. Training with task variability along with exposure to repeated sensorimotor challenges leads to faster adaptation that can be generalized to new environments. By applying these motor learning concepts for training astronauts we can enhance their ability to “learn how to learn” to adapt to new gravitational environments. The goal of this project is to develop a countermeasure comprised of a sensorimotor adaptability training program (SA training) to facilitate rapid adaptation to novel gravitational environments. This program will allow successful completion of operational tasks soon after landing on a planetary surface.

Specific Aims

1) Determine if a sensorimotor adaptability (SA) training program facilitates performance of functional tasks during exposure to a novel sensory discordance.

2) Determine retention characteristics of SA training.

3) Determine the robustness of SA training during periods of increased cognitive load.


Subjects will receive SA training consisting of treadmill walking and manual dexterity tasks performed during exposure to a variety of sensory challenges (incongruent visual input, support surface instability) designed to increase sensorimotor adaptability. The efficacy of the training will be determined by measuring performance of operationally oriented functional tasks during exposure to novel sensory distortions not previously experienced by the subjects during training.

Expected result(s)

Information obtained from this study will enable us to optimize a sensorimotor adaptability training program. The results from this study will also be used to specify the requirements for future in-flight treadmills and other exercise devices used during spaceflight.

How task will fill or partially fill the gap

Data obtained from this study will aid in the development of sensorimotor adaptability training programs that can be used to support future expedition class missions. Sensorimotor adaptability training could play a central role in facilitating crewmember adaptive response to new gravitational environments in support of both short and long-duration spaceflight