Living in the Outer Space has recently inspired a vast literature in the fields of both physical and cultural Anthropology. As Mankind is facing peculiar environmental conditions affecting locomotion, working capabilities and general living, new forms of biological and sociocultural adaptation are likely to occur. This represents a big challenge for the studies of our species. Since good interior design and interface usability depend on human characteristics that are modified by variations in the environment, the urge to rethink the whole concept of human "well–being" is felt. In a spacecraft, body shapes are modifying, reflecting not only the variability of human populations but also because of physiological adaptation to zero gravity. In the International Space Station everyday objects, such as laptops or simple toothbrushes may be lost due to the visual chaos and the lack of "up–and–down" references. During long space missions in μgravity, social interaction is constraint in small group and has to deal with psychological stress and difficulties in communication. Concepts such as power and gender, strictly linked to the human bodies and their symbolic and physical functions, are going to change in a place where gravity may be absent. Gravitation is the most stable environmental factor on Earth and all the evolution history of the living beings involves a natural adaptation to it. Upright walking Hominids are a typical product of a gravitational adaptation by antagonism. Nevertheless; zero gravity, Moon gravity, solar system planets and moons hypo and hyper gravities are conditions to which terrestrial organisms have been not yet naturally evolved for. So, how adaptation, according to the current Evolution doctrine, may evolve? In Space Anthropology, instead of millenniums, the time available for adaptation is insignificant and the process of adaptation can be only found in the domain of Exaptation (Gould and Vrba, 1982). In simpler words, this means that the "archetype" structures developed by an organism for a specific need are required by the new environment to evolve into new functions. Practically the studies of our research team are aimed to the study of body movement, orientation and posture that are stoutly influenced by gravity. A possible development of our previous experiments in microgravity, is foreseen with the possibility and the opportunity to study a particular aspect of human motion and sensitivity expressed by the Rhythmic Gymnastics. In our opinion the complexity of such kind of extreme physical activity, strongly related to gravity may give a wide opportunity for studies when deprived of its major parameter: weight.

Human Motion in the Outer Space: Expatiation, Adaptation and Habitability

MASALI, Melchiorre;TINTO, Amalia;MICHELETTI CREMASCO, MARGHERITA;LIGABUE, Franca
2009

Abstract

Living in the Outer Space has recently inspired a vast literature in the fields of both physical and cultural Anthropology. As Mankind is facing peculiar environmental conditions affecting locomotion, working capabilities and general living, new forms of biological and sociocultural adaptation are likely to occur. This represents a big challenge for the studies of our species. Since good interior design and interface usability depend on human characteristics that are modified by variations in the environment, the urge to rethink the whole concept of human "well–being" is felt. In a spacecraft, body shapes are modifying, reflecting not only the variability of human populations but also because of physiological adaptation to zero gravity. In the International Space Station everyday objects, such as laptops or simple toothbrushes may be lost due to the visual chaos and the lack of "up–and–down" references. During long space missions in μgravity, social interaction is constraint in small group and has to deal with psychological stress and difficulties in communication. Concepts such as power and gender, strictly linked to the human bodies and their symbolic and physical functions, are going to change in a place where gravity may be absent. Gravitation is the most stable environmental factor on Earth and all the evolution history of the living beings involves a natural adaptation to it. Upright walking Hominids are a typical product of a gravitational adaptation by antagonism. Nevertheless; zero gravity, Moon gravity, solar system planets and moons hypo and hyper gravities are conditions to which terrestrial organisms have been not yet naturally evolved for. So, how adaptation, according to the current Evolution doctrine, may evolve? In Space Anthropology, instead of millenniums, the time available for adaptation is insignificant and the process of adaptation can be only found in the domain of Exaptation (Gould and Vrba, 1982). In simpler words, this means that the "archetype" structures developed by an organism for a specific need are required by the new environment to evolve into new functions. Practically the studies of our research team are aimed to the study of body movement, orientation and posture that are stoutly influenced by gravity. A possible development of our previous experiments in microgravity, is foreseen with the possibility and the opportunity to study a particular aspect of human motion and sensitivity expressed by the Rhythmic Gymnastics. In our opinion the complexity of such kind of extreme physical activity, strongly related to gravity may give a wide opportunity for studies when deprived of its major parameter: weight.
XVIII Congress of Italian Anthropological Association, Florence, 1-4 October 2009.
Firenze
1-4 ottobre 2009
Evoluzione e Biodiversità umana:la Storia Naturale dell'uomo 200 anni dopo Darwin
Aracne Ed. S.r.l.
-
59
60
9788854826953
Anthropology; Outer space; adaptation; habitability
Masali M; Ferrino M; Schlacht I; Tinto A; Monica A; Micheletti Cremasco M; Ligabue F
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/64292
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