Music for space
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Apr 08, 2019
Music has long been known to affect people's mood. A certain tune can lift you up or bring you to tears, make you focus, relax or even run faster. Now a study is investigating how the power of music may improve human performance in one of the most stressful and alien environments we know - space.
Music can help release a cocktail of hormones that have a positive effect on us: oxytocin, endorphin, serotonin and dopamine. Besides the pleasure we get from it, music can be used to prolong efficiency and reduce anxiety.
Stress factors in space can lead to disrupted sleep, impaired time perception and spatial orientation.
"Space appeared to me as the perfect testing ground to use anti-stress music," says violin teacher Luis Luque Alvarez, whose 'Music for space' project puts the psycho-physiological research of music at the service of space exploration.
As a child, Luis dreamt of two things: playing violin in an orchestra and space travel.
In his thirties as a talented violinist in Hungary, he noticed some videos of astronauts playing instruments in space.
He started to research and learned that music is a part of the astronauts' daily lives in space, from launch, when mission control plays music to the crews during the countdown, to orbit, where every astronaut has their own playlist to listen to in off-duty moments.
Could he scientifically select the best music to reduce the stress of a crew member?
Press play - Experimenting with music
Ten volunteers rode on a centrifuge, being spun until they felt one and a half times the weight of their bodies. Half of them listened to Beethoven's ninth symphony and the Planet Earth II soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, Jasha Klebe and Jacob Shea, while the other five spun with no music.
"Exposing people to repeated hypergravity could help us finding countermeasures to maintain wellbeing on space exploration missions," explains David Green, education coordinator at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
Coping with hypergravity is not always easy. Changes in the vestibular system can lead to disorientation and dizziness. Test subjects can become tense, anxious or even fearful.
The team from Hungarian and French universities evaluated the stress levels on the subjects by looking at muscle tone with a device called the Myoton, as well as measuring the levels of stress hormones and recording the subjects' feelings.
The music samples were shortlisted after taking into account both the changes in speed of the centrifuge and the preferences of the listeners.
The study showed that music had a positive impact, but would need more tests to get statistically meaningful results. Participants had a tendency to prefer a slow pace, constant pitch music to ease through the acceleration.
Jasha Klebe, co-composer of the Planet Earth II music, said, "It's amazing to hear our music has had the ability to exist far beyond the series itself. I have such tremendous respect for anyone involved in space exploration and can only imagine the pressures astronauts endure.
"It's an incredible honour to have our music used in experiments by ESA. We wrote the music for Planet Earth II to evoke wonder, curiosity and the importance of preserving this natural world, so it's inspiring to hear our music included within a programme dedicated to exploring worlds beyond our own."
Today, there are two guitars, a keyboard and a saxophone on the International Space Station, but instruments would also be part of future trips, too. Scientists have found that playing an instrument can result in immediate benefits to several brain functions, strengthening memory and reading skills as well as increasing reaction times.
Back on Earth, the 'Music for Space' project aims to putt the space music library at the service of communities in distress. "Music is not just leisure. It is a very special gift to humankind, to be used with care and intelligence," concludes Luis.
More Delays Ahead for Boeing's New Space Capsule for Astronauts
Cape Canaveral FL (VOA) Apr 05, 2019
Boeing's new space capsule for astronauts faces more launch delays. The Starliner capsule was supposed to make its debut this month, after a series of postponements. But the first test flight is now off until August. And the second test flight, with astronauts, won't occur until late in the year. NASA announced the revised lineup Wednesday. At the same time, officials said the first Starliner crew will remain at the International Space Station longer than the few weeks originally anticipated. The ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.