NASA is willing to give you $100,000 for two months of work. Sound like fun, yeah? Well, that's what they're paying the willing subjects of their Bed Rest Studies, who will be required lie in bed for 60 days straight. However, not everyone will be taken. Candidates will have to pass serious tests that will ensure that they resembled “the NASA astronaut population.”
That's because NASA is interested in the final frontier more than in pushing the envelope of laziness. The experiment will show how the body reacts extended periods of rest, to simulate bone and muscle atrophy in astronauts on long periods of space travel.
To quote NASA, the aims of the experiment are:
1. To Understand how one’s changing physiology in space may affect the process of certain missions.
2. To Understand the impact of one’s physiological state on their ability to perform in particular tasks.
3. To Prepare countermeasures to combat any impairment that these physiological conditions may impose.
The participants will lay on a special bed set a six-degree angle: the tilt has a similar effect on the cardiovascular system to being in space. The tilt will reduce your blood pressure, slowly decrease your blood volume, your muscles on the back and lower bottom half of the body will begin to deteriorate, bone density will decrease and your immune defenses will lower.
However, this not NASA's first rodeo. They paid folks $18,000 to lay down for 70 days back in 2014. Andrew Iwanicki was one of them, and he wrote about his experiences for VICE. “I experienced some serious headaches because the blood pressure increased in my head. My spine went through some serious pain. Staying horizontal is difficult. I’ve been told that it is difficult for the spine to deal with all the pressure of the organs lying on the spine throughout the day,” he wrote. “I was on a regimented sleep schedule. Lights out at 10 p.m., lights on at 6 a.m. No napping allowed during the day, which is one of the cruelest jokes about being stuck in bed all day, not being able to nap.”
And remember the tilt? “As soon as the bed was tilted to the vertical position, my legs felt heavier than ever before," he wrote about the end of the experiment. "My heart started to beat at 150 BPMs. My skin became itchy; I was covered in sweat. Blood rushed into my legs, expanding the veins that had become increasingly elastic throughout the past several months of bed rest”.
As for the new round of human guinea pigs, half of them will be on the Exercising category and the other will on the Non-exercising group. The first one will exercise with special tools while laying down. The latter will stay still the entire time. And the doctors will be prodding them all the entire time! Bone, muscle and heart tests will be matched with circulatory and nervous system observation as well as tests on nutritional condition, and the immune system.