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
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 »
SEVEN-POINT LEAD IN A FOUR-WAY
Quinnipiac Has Clinton Over 50%
19 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 51%-41% in a new Quinnipiac poll released today. Her lead shrinks to seven points when the third-party candidates are included. In that scenario, she leads 45%-38%, with Gary Johnson pulling 10% and Jill Stein at 4%.

Source:
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
MIGHT STILL ACCEPT FOREIGN AND CORPORATE MONEY
Chelsea to Stay on Board of Clinton Foundation
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Is the Clinton family backtracking on some of its promises to insulate the White House from the Clinton Foundation? Opposition researchers will certainly try to portray it that way. A foundation spokesman said yesterday that Chelsea Clinton will stay on its board, and that the "foundation’s largest project, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, might continue to accept foreign government and corporate funding."

Source:
INTERCEPT IN MIDDLE EAST
Navy Calls Iranian Ships’ Actions Dangerous, Unprofessional
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Four Iranian ships made reckless maneuvers close to a U.S. warship this week, the Pentagon said Thursday, in an incident that officials said could have led to dangerous escalation." The four Iranian vessels engaged in a "high-speed intercept" of a U.S. destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz. A Navy spokesman said the Iranina actions "created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures" by the destroyer.

Source:
$300 SAVINGS CARD
Under Pressure, EpiPen Maker Drops Prices
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Amid public outcry and the threat of investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mylan has agreed to effectively drop the price of EpiPens. "The company, which did not lower the drug's list price, said it would reduce the patient cost of EpiPen through the use of a savings card, which will cover up to $300 of EpiPen 2-Pak."

Source:
×