Do You Have What It Takes to Lie Down for 70 Days?

Get ready for some hard-core rest — NASA needs you!

National Journal
Brian Resnick
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Brian Resnick
Sept. 20, 2013, 10:07 a.m.

NASA is call­ing for test sub­jects in an ex­per­i­ment that could pave the way to send­ing hu­mans to Mars or bey­ond. It’s called the bed-rest study, and it is as ex­treme as it sounds.

If chosen, par­ti­cipants will have to lay on a bed for 70 days, with their feet el­ev­ated slightly high­er than their heads. This sim­u­lates the long-term ef­fects of mi­cro­grav­ity on the hu­man body. The re­search­ers will be able to see how bone dens­ity, muscle at­rophy, and oth­er bod­ily factors change as people stay off their feet for months at a time, just like they would on an in­ter­plan­et­ary mis­sion. But don’t worry, you can go about your nor­mal daily routine, just as long as it is con­fined to the bed — there’s a spe­cial shower, and you can use con­sumer elec­tron­ics (Net­flix must have enough de­cent con­tent for 70 days of con­stant stream­ing, right?) Some sub­jects will even get to use in-bed ex­er­cise equip­ment.

Par­ti­cipants get $18,000 for their time.

So what does it take to en­dure such hard-core rest? Ac­tu­ally, a lot. Sub­jects need to be in very good phys­ic­al con­di­tion and un­der­go psy­cho­lo­gic­al eval­u­ation. The ap­plic­a­tion states that par­ti­cipants must pass a mod­i­fied Air Force Class III med­ic­al stand­ard. The seni­or sci­ent­ist on the study told For­bes, “We want people who have the phys­ic­al and psy­cho­lo­gic­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics of an as­tro­naut,” al­beit a bedrid­den one.

The in­sights to be gained here can be cru­cial for the fu­ture of space­flight. Cur­rently, re­search­ers sug­gest that a 10-month trip to Mars would cause an as­tro­naut to lose 40 per­cent of his or her muscle mass. “On a long voy­age,” Space.com re­ports, “a healthy 30- to 50-year-old as­tro­naut could end up with the strength of an 80-year-old.” Something that would be a hindrance when it comes to ac­tu­ally land­ing on the plan­et.

What We're Following See More »
NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
COMMISSIONERS NEED TO DELIBERATE MORE
FCC Pushes Vote on Set-Top Boxes
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Federal regulators on Thursday delayed a vote on a proposal to reshape the television market by freeing consumers from cable box rentals, putting into doubt a plan that has pitted technology companies against cable television providers. ... The proposal will still be considered for a future vote. But Tom Wheeler, chairman of the F.C.C., said commissioners needed more discussions."

Source:
UNTIL DEC. 9, ANYWAY
Obama Signs Bill to Fund Government
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
REDSKINS IMPLICATIONS
SCOTUS to Hear Case on Offensive Trademarks
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The Supreme Court is taking up a First Amendment clash over the government’s refusal to register offensive trademarks, a case that could affect the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team name. The justices agreed Thursday to hear a dispute involving an Asian-American rock band called the Slants, but they did not act on a separate request to hear the higher-profile Redskins case at the same time." Still, any precedent set by the case could have ramifications for the Washington football team.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Bannon Still Collecting Royalties from ‘Seinfeld’
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at a little-known intersection of politics and entertainment, in which Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon is still raking in residuals from Seinfeld. Here's the digest version: When Seinfeld was in its infancy, Ted Turner was in the process of acquiring its production company, Castle Rock, but he was under-capitalized. Bannon's fledgling media company put up the remaining funds, and he agreed to "participation rights" instead of a fee. "Seinfeld has reaped more than $3 billion in its post-network afterlife through syndication deals." Meanwhile, Bannon is "still cashing checks from Seinfeld, and observers say he has made nearly 25 times more off the Castle Rock deal than he had anticipated."

Source:
×