Get paid for lying down on the job, for a change.
The German Aerospace Center is looking for women to spend 60 days in bed to study how weightlessness affects the human body as a means to come up with countermeasures to keep astronauts healthy in space. And the research project commissioned by NASA and the European Space Agency will compensate test subjects with 16,500 euros, or about $18,522, to spend two months in a horizontal position in a German lab, as well as an extra two weeks beforehand to get familiarized with the lab, and two weeks of rehab afterward to (literally) get back on your feet.
The program’s online post translates to “Terrestrial astronauts wanted!” and notes that bed rest simulates the conditions that the human body experiences in weightlessness. This weightlessness caused by microgravity can lead to bones losing minerals and density, and muscles weakening, since physical stress is so greatly reduced in space, according to NASA. And bodily fluids shift toward the head, which puts pressure on the eyes and can cause vision problems. (The researchers have created a “short-arm human centrifuge” that generates artificial gravity and corrects the distribution of body fluids, which they also intend to test on two-thirds of the study subjects.)
“Crewed spaceflight will continue to be important in the future in order to carry out experiments in microgravity, but we must make it as safe as possible for the astronauts,” Hansjörg Dittus, executive board member for space research and technology at the German Aerospace Center, told CNN.
So the study is looking for healthy, nonsmoking women ages 24 to 55 who speak German. The multistage selection includes filling out a questionnaire, followed by an informational event where the researchers will explain what to expect during the experiment. They will also test one’s physical and mental fitness through several “preliminary examinations.”
Because make no mistake: two months of bed rest is harder than it sounds. The study will run from September through December 2019 in Cologne, and will begin with 15 days of familiarization, followed by 60 days of bed rest — where everything from showering, eating, using the bathroom and leisure activities will be done lying down, with researchers ensuring that you do not get up or lift your head — followed by 14 days of “astronaut rehab.” Subjects will then return for follow-up examinations in March and December 2020 and December 2021.
The study’s website entices applicants by noting that you won’t have to worry about cooking, laundry, shopping, working or studying for 89 days, adding it will be a great opportunity to catch up on your reading and bingewatching. Scientists...