Some brave people will soon lie down for science – and they will not stand up long.
A 60-day bed rest study funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA will start on Monday (March 25) in Cologne, Germany. Eight male and four female volunteers are being placed in the beds of the German Aerospace Center (envihab) to help scientists better understand how spaceflight affects the human body . The scientists refer to the experiment as an artificial gravity bed rest study, according to German space officials.
(Bed rest is a common research tool in the human spaceflight community) and can cause muscle atrophy and loss of bone density as well as staying in weightlessness.)
Related: The human body in space: 6 Weird Facts
If you think this sounds like a dream gig, you might want to think again. For starters, there is no sitting; Each volunteer must keep at least one shoulder in contact with the mattress at all times. The head ends of the beds are tilted 6 degrees below the horizontal so that ESA officials flow away the blood from the participants' legs.
In addition, the poor are regularly submerged in a centrifuge and raised, pushing the blood back toward his extremities.
The centrifuge bit is an attempt to estimate the real potential of Artificial Gravity ̵
This is the first long-term ESA bed rest study to be used: the envihab short-arm centrifuge and the first to be carried out in collaboration with NASA, ESA officials said.
Researchers will conduct a variety of experiments throughout the study; Among other things, they measure participants' cardiovascular and cognitive performance, balance and muscle strength. This data will help ESA, NASA and their partners to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars and other space destinations.
"To enable these missions, various risks to the health of astronauts must be minimized," said ESA Team Leader for Research, Jennifer Ngo-Anh in a statement . "This study allows us to address the problem of muscle atrophy caused by weightlessness, but also other stressors such as cosmic rays, isolation and spatial limitations."
Mike Walls's book on the search for an extraterrestrial life, "[19659019"OutOut "(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate ), is now out Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .