Bodies in the Space Environment


In outer space how do you know which way is up? The BISE (Bodies in the Space Environment) is exploring the effect of long term weightlessness on our perception of up. A group of six astronauts is being studied before, during and after long duration exposure to weightlessness. 

Humans judge the direction of up by combining a number of different cues including information from gravity, the body and vision. Normally these directions are all congruent but in unusual environments, and in microgravity in particular, these cues may disagree or be some cues may be absent altogether. Ground-based experiments have been used to develop a model of how these cues are integrated together under normal gravity conditions. Underwater experiments are investigating how these cues are integrated when the body is neutrally buoyant, and microgravity aircraft experiments have investigated how these cues are integrated during short duration microgravity exposure. Previous work has found that d observers tend to rely more on body orientation cues than they do on visual cues during short duration microgravity exposure. Is a similar effect found for long duration spaceflight?

These pages chronicle the BISE project as we study our six astronauts over the period March 2009 - December 2010.  Other web sites related to the BISE project can be found at the following locations

ISS Web page repository

CSA BISE pages


Other useful links

ISS Tracking



STS-119 and the Space Shuttle Discovery launch from Florida on March 15, 2009. The flight is delivering a copy of the BISE experimental software to the International Space Station where it will be loaded onto hardware currently on station in order to conduct the BISE experiments.

The BISE project