WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- On Tuesday, NASA will begin a study that will take 3 months to determine how the body adjusts to weightlessness which involves participants taking long bed rests for 60 days.
- The participants, 12 males and 12 females, will be required to do activities while in a head-tilt position to match the effects of a low-gravity environment that are experienced by astronauts.
- In addition, the study will also assess the benefits of artificial gravity by having its test subjects lie in a short-arm centrifuge then spun to stimulate blood flow to their legs.
How would you like to be paid for just lying in bed for 60 days? Sounds good, right? Then NASA has the perfect deal for you.
In Cologne, Germany on Tuesday, the space agency launched a 3-month study to test gravity and how the body adapts to weightlessness by requiring its participants to stay in bed for long periods of time.
Teaming up with the European Space Agency for the Bed Rest Study which will happen at the German Aerospace Center’s ‘envihab’, a facility operated by the Institute of Aerospace Medicine at the German Space Agency (DLR), NASA will pay about $18,500 each to 12 male and 12 female participants to eat, exercise and shower while assuming a head-down tilt position.
These activities in the said position will duplicate the various effects faced by astronauts in a low-gravity environment. According to the ESA, the heads of astronauts typically fill with fluids while their muscles and bones waste away due to the absence of gravity that pulls blood flow to the legs.
Furthermore, participants will be asked to lie in the facility’s short-arm centrifuge once a day and will be rotated for blood to flow back towards their feet. This will be done for the study to test the possible benefits of artificial gravity.
ESA also states that astronauts exercise for up to 2.5 hours daily and maintain a balanced diet while currently on board the International Space Station. While doing so will help alleviate the effects of microgravity, scientists believe that adding an additional dose of artificial gravity could be vital during longer-term missions.
“Participation in the study was a very special and good experience for me,” said Janja, a test subject in a similar 2017 bed rest study. “After a few days, my body got used to the bed rest,” she added.
The entire study will take 89 days, but with the time needed for preparations and recovery, time spent in bed will last for 60 days.
Although the study has just started, a second phase is already scheduled to begin in September for which DLR is already looking for participants.