Testing how microgravity affects our ability to grab and manipulate objects in space


Credit: Franceso Algeri

When it comes to grasping an object, our eyes, ears and hands are intimately connected. Our brain draws information from different senses, such as sight, sound and touch, to coordinate hand movements.

Researchers think that, on Earth, gravity is also part of the equation—it provides a set of anchoring cues for the central nervous system. Human evolution has balanced its way across millenia with visual references, self-orientation and the help of the vestibular system.
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano got a handle on how microgravity affects our ability to grab and manipulate objects in space with the Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance (Grasp) experiment.
To get an idea of the differences in how our brains work both with and without gravity’s pull, the Grasp experiment is also conducted back on Earth. Following his 201-day mission in…



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