See how NASA astronauts communicate in space without words (video)

Humans are an extremely chatty species that use speech as their primary form of communication… some of us are MUCH more than others. While some people tend to talk less and listen more, the instinct to verbalize emotions and thoughts is a natural mechanism.

But in the cold vacuum of space, astronauts who call the heavens their workplace must rely on other means of communication to communicate their points of view or instructions in the event that their radio systems and communication links fail or some other unforeseen emergency arises. during the mission. golden spacewalk.

To help develop basic non-verbal skills, NASA astronauts must understand and practice the silent signals that convey everything from numbers and emotions to barometric pressure glitches and radio problems. Many of these similar gestures can be seen between scuba divers, pilots, and military combat units.

On the subject: What it’s like to become a NASA astronaut: 10 amazing facts

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron demonstrate non-verbal communication in space that can be vital during spacewalks and other situations, in the agency’s video. (Image credit: NASA STEM)

In this new video from NASA’s STEM YouTube channel for students, astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron demonstrate some interesting non-verbal ways of expressing themselves clearly while preparing for life and work on the International Space Station.

“We really want to test each other, test our buddies,” Barron explained in the tutorial video. “So, as we usually do, we use the ok hand symbol, and we will use it as a question and as an answer. So if I point to Raju and then give him the “okay” sign, I say, “Are you okay?” And if so, he will tell me: “I’m fine.”

Related: How Astronauts Prepare for the Unknown in Space: An Interview with NASA’s Victor Glover

Non-verbal communication can be key during spacewalks. Here, astronauts Raja Chari (left) and Kayla Barron are seen inside the US Quest airlock in suits preparing for a six-hour, 54-minute spacewalk to set up the International Space Station for its next solar array deployment on March 15. , 2022. (Image credit: NASA)

Transmitting critical information in the hazardous environment of low Earth orbit requires the memorization and perfect execution of these standard hand gestures.

“Many of the non-verbal cues that come from just getting to know and work with people go a long way as you work day in and day out, especially in stressful situations like spacewalks,” Chari adds in a short tutorial. “One facial expression can tell you either: “Yes, I agree with this plan” or: “I have doubts.” Maybe we should stop and talk about it. And all this can be done with one glance, even through the glass of space helmets.

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