Home / Science / 60 days in bed pay $ 19,000 – and a chance to protect astronauts

60 days in bed pay $ 19,000 – and a chance to protect astronauts

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To Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky

Imagine you lie in bed for weeks, eating and sleeping without getting up, and being generously paid for your efforts.

What sounds like a dream job to some is the creation of a new experiment, conducted by NASA and the European Space Agency. Launched on Monday in Cologne (Germany), the study aims to assess the health effects of long-haul flights by restricting participants' movements for two months.

Agbresa (Artificial Gravity Bed Rest ̵

1; European Space Agency) The study will also explore the potential benefits of artificial gravity to help keep astronauts healthy on missions to Mars and distant targets. It is the first such collaboration between space agencies and the first to employ a "human centrifuge" from the space age to produce artificial gravity.

The: envihab centrifuge spins people around to create an artificial gravity environment. DLR

The study "offers space explorers across Europe and the US the opportunity to work together and acquire as much scientific knowledge about human physiology as possible," said Hansjörg Dittus, board member of the German Aerospace Center a statement.

The study will be carried out in the "envihab" facility of the Center (from "Environment" and "Habitat") in Cologne, where participants – 12 men and 12 women – will spend 60 consecutive days in bed the entire 89 -Day study, which includes extra time for preparation and recovery. For their time they receive 16,500 euros (about 19,000 US dollars).

More than half a century of human spaceflight has shown that microgravity of space can make drastic and potentially dangerous changes to the human body. Without the gravity of the earth, the body fluids can be torn down. Body fluids migrate up to collect in the chest and head, and bones and muscles disappear.

Lying in bed for extended periods of time may result in similar changes, so that study participants do just about everything: Envihab beds for the duration of the study.

But lying in bed is not exactly a walk in the park. The participants' beds are tilted slightly down to promote the upper body fluids. To mimic the effects of weightlessness on muscles, bones and tendons, participants need to minimize any movement. This means that there is always at least one shoulder on the mattress.

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