Wouldn’t you love a job where you could get paid to stay in the bed? NASA is looking to pay volunteers $18,000 to do just that.
The agency is doing another one of their bed rest studies to research the negative effects of gravity. It is part of a joint effort between NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and AGBRESA (Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study) that will examine artificial gravity’s impact on the human body.
Twelve male and twelve female volunteers are needed to help scientists simulate and assess such an environment in space. It will require a three-month stint at a German facility with 60 days spent lying down in bed.
The full extent of the stay includes pre-testing and recovery phases as participants will have to maintain little movement during the testing. Like astronauts, volunteers will conduct all activities in the bed.
The bed will be positioned at an angle where the head is tilted slightly downwards, allowing body fluids to circulate upwards. In particular, researchers want to see if artificial gravity can negate the effects of long-term weightlessness on space crews.
Generally, there is loss of muscle mass and some atrophy experienced when astronauts are in space for long periods of time. Participants in this study will be monitored with MRIs, a spinning centrifuge, and other means to assess mental function, circulation, muscle and bone endurance, heart health, and equilibrium.
Dr. Leticia Vega, the chief scientist for this program, stated:
“Both effects are similar to what astronauts experience in space. Although the effects of weightlessness are primarily investigated on the International Space Station, analogues such as :envihab are helpful when studying certain research topics under controlled conditions on Earth. These findings will later be validated on the ISS.”
According to an article on the German Aerospace Center’s website, astronaut’s bodies age and decline faster when in space than people on Earth. This study will help scientists determine ways to mitigate those effects.
While laid up, people can entertain themselves with the help of games, videos, and music. The catch? You have to be fluent in German.
Healthy adults age 24 to 55 have already begun to arrive for the experiments but the agency is still looking for participants for round two in the fall. They would love to recruit more women!
Each group of volunteers will be housed separately, but the difference is one set will have a go in the centrifuge and the other will not. Down for a spin? You can learn more or sign up here.
If you are genuinely interested in doing work like this in the name of science for NASA, don’t feel like this is a missed opportunity. The group periodically does bed rest studies like this one to further their work with astronauts, space exploration, and how humans interact with gravity on Earth.
You can read about similar research they’ve done during the past few years on the website.
Would you be interested in participating in a study like this? What are your thoughts on space travel? Are you somewhat of a science or space geek that loves NASA’s work?