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Vection underwater illustrates the limitations of neutral buoyancy as a microgravity analog

  • Neutral buoyancy has been used as an analog for microgravity from the earliest days of human spaceflight. Compared to other options on Earth, neutral buoyancy is relatively inexpensive and presents little danger to astronauts while simulating some aspects of microgravity. Neutral buoyancy removes somatosensory cues to the direction of gravity but leaves vestibular cues intact. Removal of both somatosensory and direction of gravity cues while floating in microgravity or using virtual reality to establish conflicts between them has been shown to affect the perception of distance traveled in response to visual motion (vection) and the perception of distance. Does removal of somatosensory cues alone by neutral buoyancy similarly impact these perceptions? During neutral buoyancy we found no significant difference in either perceived distance traveled nor perceived size relative to Earth-normal conditions. This contrasts with differences in linear vection reported between short- and long-duration microgravity and Earth-normal conditions. These results indicate that neutral buoyancy is not an effective analog for microgravity for these perceptual effects.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Nils-Alexander Bury, Michael Jenkin, Robert S. Allison, Rainer Herpers, Laurence R. Harris
Parent Title (English):npj Microgravity
Article Number:42
Number of pages:10
Publisher:Springer Nature
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2023/06/10
Copyright:© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Funding:This project was supported by the Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg - University of Applied Science, the German Sport University Cologne, the Canadian Space Agency (15ILSSRA1-York, PI: L.R.H.), the DLR (Grant No. 50WB1627, PI: R.H.) and a VISTA Research Travel Award funded by the Canadian First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) and York University (Toronto). R.S.A., L.R.H. and M.J. are funded by NSERC Canada (R.A.: RGPIN-2015-06732; L.R.H.: RGPIN-2015-46271, 15ILSSRA1-York; M.J.: RGPIN-2016-05311).
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Institute of Visual Computing (IVC)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 006 Spezielle Computerverfahren
Open access funding:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Publikationsfonds / 2022 ff
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / DFG Förderung Open Access Publikationskosten 2023 - 2025
Entry in this database:2023/06/20
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International