Perspectives virtual reality hardware for use on the International Space Station.
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be the first astronaut to use the Perspectives virtual reality gear in space and take part in the Grasp experiment.
Living in space requires adaptation from more than just the astronaut’s body. The absence of a traditional up or down requires the brain to adapt to the three-dimensional world of weightlessness.
Virtual reality headsets offer a way to understand how an astronaut brain adapts to its new environment and the Grasp experiment will use a new headset supplied by France’s space agency CNES. Grasp will see Thomas reaching for virtual objects so researchers can understand how important gravity is compared to the other senses when we reach for an object.
The research will help us understand the workings of the human vestibular system and how it connects to the other sensory organs. In other words it will achieve a better understanding of the physiology behind eye-hand coordination as well as shedding light on how to best treat the loss of vestibular function on Earth. This research will also be useful in helping astronauts during spacewalks .