How do you think astronauts in space communicate? With no medium to carry the sound frequencies, it must be difficult to vocally communicate
Humans are social creatures, and being deprived of the usual communication must mean something is way off. How to communicate?
Let’s look into this!
Astronauts are instructed to master fundamental nonverbal communication skills so they can comprehend their coworkers’ signals in these unusual and emergency circumstances. Every astronaut is capable of communicating any information to the other person without using words, including figures, emotions, the condition of the equipment, and descriptions of other issues on board the ISS, like air pressure malfunctions and radio issues. Scuba divers, pilots, and military groups all often use several of these gestures.
Using ASL gestures, astronauts can sign different words like “wait” and “danger”. They can also sign numbers up to 10 on one hand by gesturing the number with the hand tilted at 90 degrees.
Raja Chari, a NASA astronaut explains in a video:
“There’s a lot of nonverbal that just comes from knowing and working with people that makes a big difference when you’re working day in and day out, especially on a high-stress thing like a spacewalk.” Chari continues “Just the look on someone’s face can tell you either, “yeah, I’m good with this plan,” or “I’ve got reservations.” Maybe we should stop and talk about this. And you can do all this with just a glance, even through the glass of the space helmets.”
Kayla Barron, another NASA astronaut, explains:
“We really want to check on each other, check on our buddies,” Barron explains in the video. “So the way we usually do that is we use the “okay” hand symbol, and we’ll use it as a question and an answer. So if I’m pointing at Raja and then giving him the ‘okay’ sign, I’m saying ‘are you okay?’ And if he’s okay, he’ll tell me, “I am okay.”
These standard hand gestures must be remembered and executed correctly to transmit vital information in the dangerous environment of low-Earth orbit.
Now you know how astronauts talk in space-without talking.