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The Detrimental Effects of Long Duration Spaceflight on Human Wayfinding: The Behavioural and Neural Mechanisms Study International (Wayfinding)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Wayfinding is the cognitive phenomenon that allows humans to orient and navigate in spatial surroundings. Development of a sense of direction and location is dependent upon integration of visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular information. When this information is changed or lacking, wayfinding will be affected. Studies have shown that the microgravity environment of space significantly changes both proprioceptive and vestibular responses of astronauts causing motion sickness, perceptual illusions, and spatial disorientation until adaptation occurs. However, the behavioral and neurological effects following spaceflight are unknown.

In this investigation, the primary objective is to accomplish a comprehensive assessment of the cognitive and neurological changes that occur during long-duration spaceflight and during postflight re-adaptation to Earth’s atmosphere. The specific objectives of this investigation are to:

  1. Quantify the changes in spatial orientation skills that result from long-duration spaceflight
  2. Assess functional and structural neurological changes associated with altered spatial orientation skills resulting from long-duration spaceflight
  3. Evaluate if changes associated with long-duration spaceflight persist after long-term re-adaptation to terrestrial environments.

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Spatial behavior

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
Field map MRI
Functional MRI, resting state (rs-fMRI)
Functional MRI, task (task-fMRI)
General cognitive skills
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 55 02/27/2018 06/03/2018 96 days
Expedition 56 06/03/2018 10/04/2018 123 days
Expedition 57 10/04/2018 12/20/2018 77 days
Expedition 58 12/18/2018 03/14/2019 85 days
Expedition 59 03/14/2019 06/24/2019 102 days
Expedition 60 06/24/2019 10/03/2019 101 days
Expedition 61 10/03/2019 02/06/2020 126 days
Expedition 62 02/06/2020 04/17/2020 70 days
Expedition 63 04/17/2020 10/21/2020 187 days
Expedition 64 10/21/2020 04/16/2021 177 days
Expedition 65 04/16/2021 10/17/2021 184 days
Expedition 66 10/17/2021 03/30/2022 164 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source