Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space

Abstract:
According to Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen of Bowling Green State University, disabilities can be superpowers for astronauts in space. A position she and her co-author, Joshua Miele, of the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, will explain Sunday May 27th at 3 pm at the National Space Society's annual International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles.

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space

Washington, DC | Posted on May 17th, 2018

Dr. Wells-Jensen uses the 1997 fire aboard Russia's Mir Space Station as an example of the advantages that disabled astronauts can bring to emergency situations. During the Mir fire, thick smoke obstructed the astronauts' vision. Without being able to see, the astronauts could not find the Mir's fire extinguishers. Dr. Wells-Jensen says that a blind astronaut would have had no difficulty locating the extinguishers or any of the station's other vital tools. Dr. Wells-Jensen explains that lighting systems are typically the first things to fail in spacecraft emergencies. The sudden loss of light can disorient and panic sighted astronauts, she says, handicapping them when speed and awareness are paramount. But malfunctioning lights present no problem to a blind astronaut.

Then there are people who have lost their limbs. Leglessness is no problem in space's zero gravity. A legless astronaut can get into spaces in a craft that other astronauts may not be able to squeeze into.

And there's another advantage of handicapped astronauts: neural plasticity. Research shows that the brain rewires itself to give superpowers to the disabled. For example, the blind develop supernormal senses of sound and touch. Amputees develop the ability to accomplish miracles of strength and dexterity, like the championship running of Oscar Pistorius. In addition, astronauts missing arms can be equipped with specialized prosthetics that allow deeds beyond the powers of five fingers.

Dr. Wells-Jensen adds that modifications to existing equipment and technology to accommodate blind astronauts would also yield unexpected advantages to all astronauts. Spacesuit gloves are currently cumbersome and would not allow blind astronauts to feel their surroundings. Redesigning those gloves would ultimately benefit all astronauts. And equipping visual displays with audio or tactile feedback would provide all astronauts with a fail-safe should vision be blocked in an emergency.

Says Dr. Wells-Jensen, "It's not the disability itself that represents an advantage: it's the genius of human cognition that reorganizes and reimagines work flow when it encounters interesting problems to solve." Concludes Wells-Jensen, "if disabled people are integrated into the crew, the whole team benefits and has a better chance of surviving."

###

The National Space Society's International Space Development Conference will take place from May 24th to May 27th at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, 6101 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90045.

####

About National Space Society
NSS is an independent non-profit educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space, with thousands of members and supporters, and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. To learn more, visit the NSS Website (space.nss.org).

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Aggie Kobrin
Show Producer
949-836-8464


Lynne Zielinski
202-429-1600

Copyright © National Space Society

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Bioengineered nanoparticles show promise for fibrinogen manufacture, says Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis study: Scientists engineer a nanoparticle polymer that can selectively bind to fibrinogen in human plasma, presenting a pathway for improved drug development January 14th, 2022

Photon recycling The key to high-efficiency perovskite solar cells January 14th, 2022

NSF funds Rice effort to measure, preserve quantum entanglement: Physicist Guido Pagano wins CAREER Award to develop tools for quantum computing January 14th, 2022

Tuning the bonds of paired quantum particles to create dissipationless flow: A tunable platform made from atomically thin materials may help researchers figure out how to create a robust quantum condensate that can flow without losing energy January 14th, 2022

Possible Futures

Towards high-performance organic optoelectronics with better crystallinity at semiconductor interface: Organic molecular interfaces with minimized structural mismatch and spontaneous electron transfer could open doors to high-efficiency optoelectronics January 14th, 2022

New photonic effect could speed drug development: Twisted semiconductor nanostructures convert red light into the twisted blue light in tiny volumes, which may help develop chiral drugs January 14th, 2022

UT Southwestern develops nanotherapeutic to ward off liver cancer January 14th, 2022

The free-energy principle explains the brain January 14th, 2022

Announcements

Nanostructures get complex with electron equivalents: Nanoparticles of two different sizes break away from symmetrical designs January 14th, 2022

New photonic effect could speed drug development: Twisted semiconductor nanostructures convert red light into the twisted blue light in tiny volumes, which may help develop chiral drugs January 14th, 2022

UT Southwestern develops nanotherapeutic to ward off liver cancer January 14th, 2022

The free-energy principle explains the brain January 14th, 2022

Aerospace/Space

Super-resolved imaging of a single cold atom on a nanosecond timescale January 7th, 2022

Researchers develop polyimide-mica nanocomposite film with high resistance to low earth orbit environments December 3rd, 2021

The National Space Society Mourns the Passing of Robert Krone, Founder of the Kepler Space Institute: Krone's Visionary and Humanistic Approach to the Study of Space Communities and Settlement Was Unique September 22nd, 2021

Scientists demonstrate pathway to forerunner of nanotubes that could lead to widespread industrial fabrication September 17th, 2021

Human Interest/Art

Graphene nanotubes revolutionize touch screen use for prosthetic hands August 3rd, 2021

JEOL Announces 2020 Microscopy Image Grand Prize Winners January 7th, 2021

No ink needed for these graphene artworks: Artist employs Rice University lab's laser-induced graphene as medium for ultramodern art May 3rd, 2019

'Quantum Rhapsodies' performance explores quantum physics, its role in our universe April 5th, 2019

Events/Classes

Invited CEA-Leti Paper at IEDM 2021 Identifies Main Challenges Facing Large-Scale Si Quantum Computing: Second Paper Details Innovative Silicon Quantum Device Integration For Effective Qubit Control December 17th, 2021

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Participate in Upcoming September 2021 Conferences September 1st, 2021

UVA Engineering researchers join quest to demonstrate photonic systems-on-chip: Future applications include faster, more efficient data centers and next-generation millimeter-wave wireless communication July 30th, 2021

Arrowhead Presents Preclinical Data on ARO-DUX4 at FSHD Society International Research Congress June 25th, 2021

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project