The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs proved that humans could function in a capable manner in space. Physiological changes, such as loss of bone calcium and muscle tissue, were established during these early manned space flight programs. However, little was known about human ability to perform intricate sensory-motor tasks during space flight. In general, fatigue affects the sensory and motor regions of the brain, decreasing sensory-motor skills. Many of the tasks that astronauts perform require that they maintain good sensory-motor skills for long hours. Therefore, the objectives of this experiment were (1) to measure changes in motor sensory performance resulting from prolonged space flight and (2) to compare Skylab performance data with existing ground-based data and data obtained during pre- and post- flight sessions.
The Skylab test performed on mission day 10 and those performed on mission day 78 had very similar results, while the test on mission day 38, near mid mission, required slightly less time. Therefore, the results could be attributed to initial adaptation to weightlessness, incomplete familiarity with the microgravity environment followed by fatigue or other unknown effects of zero-g. Overall, analysis of preflight, inflight, and postflight data indicated that there was no significant change in the eye-hand coordination of the crew. In addition, none of the crewmembers reported any noticeable deterioration throughout the missions in performing tasks that required them to handle experiments or manipulate controls.
|Mission||Launch/Start Date||Landing/End Date||Duration|
|Skylab 4||11/16/1973||02/08/1974||84 days|