Intrepid Museum - Virtual Live Event - Sign Language interpreted

11/18/2021 5:00 pm




Greetings from the Intrepid Museum!


I am happy to share the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s next Virtual Astronomy Live: The Hidden Heroes of Space Research, on Thursday, November 18. Please see below for more information and share widely! This program is free and will stream on Twitch, Facebook and YouTube. Registration is not required, but recommended.

Virtual Astronomy Live: The Hidden Heroes of Space Research

View the event live at or YouTube. Learn more and register on Eventbrite.


American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and live captioning (CART) will be provided.


A 5:00pm pre-show will take place with an interactive talk from an Intrepid Museum Educator about the “Making History Accessible” exhibit on display.


The Hidden Heroes of Space Research

Thursday, November 18

5:30-7:00pm ET

Space travel brings fully into focus a set of sense organs that most of us take for granted—the vestibular organs that give us much of our sense of body orientation. Up is up, down is down and ok, gravity is there, but we take it for granted. These “labyrinth organs” sit right next to our organs of hearing in the inner ear.


In space flight lift-off and return, and in some other maneuvers, unusual forces impinge on the labyrinthine organ detectors of linear and angular acceleration. The result can be disorientation and also often motion sickness that can be debilitating. People with defective labyrinths (so-called LD individuals) do not suffer from these problems—and they could be ideal space travelers for that reason. They are already the unsung heroes of research on body orientation. Studying them has given so much information about the orientation control of our bodies. Most LD individuals are deaf. A brave group of LD subjects from Gallaudet College, the famous US school for the deaf, were key to developing measures of balance and orientation.


In the 1960s and early 70’s an extraordinary body of research was done by Ashton Graybiel, Head of the Navy’s School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Graybiel brought Gallaudet students to Pensacola. His work was crucial to preparing for the early American space flights.


Now, in a center at Brandeis, Dr. James Lackner heads the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory, where advanced work probes how to predict vulnerabilities to space flight problems, and at the same time uncovers the remarkable power of combinations of vestibular and touch-pressure signals to influence our daily lives.


An important part of this work continues to be tied to Gallaudet University, and now extends to far-flung fields including driverless vehicles, combatting falling in older populations, and disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. This Intrepid Virtual Astronomy Program will sing for the unsung Gallaudet heroes and show how the physiology of space flight now extends to many fields.


The event is hosted and co-produced by John “Das” Galloway, founder of the Kerbal Space Academy.


The Virtual Astronomy Live education pre-show is supported by a grant from the Robert & Toni Bader Charitable Foundation.