Hate waking up with the dreaded “bed head” look, where you can’t get your hair to lie down right on your head? If so, then the latest NASA study may not be for you, as it requires participants to stay in bed for at least 70 days, and staying at the facility for 97 in total. All of that sloth will pay off, though, as you will earn $1,200 per week. Altogether, you could earn as much as $18,000. Still, is this NASA job a dream job, or is it more like a nightmare?
The data the research generates will aid scientists in learning more about conditions that astronauts might experience living for extended periods of time in space.
The participants taking part in the study are meant to be simulating through their period of extended bed rest what astronauts in a weightless environment go through.
NASA would like to learn more about the physical, mental and emotional changes people in a zero G environment undergo.They also would like to discover how much physical activity it takes in zero G to accomplish certain tasks. After the scientists learn more the answers to these questions, they will come up with methods to accomplish tasks in space easier, and also ways to help astronauts physically acclimate themselves back to life on Earth after they return back home.
The beds of the participants will be tilted downward at the head of the bed. This will cause a movement of bodily fluids towards the torso and head of a person’s body.
No gravity can have a debilitating effect on a person’s body, weakening muscles, and it’s difficult to say if exercising would have much of an effect as reducing some of the worse effects or not. Scientists working on the research for this study theorize that if astronauts can find out a method to exercise, if will help them stay in shape.
The University of Texas Medical branch in Galveston, Texas, in the Flight Analogs Research Unit (FARU) of NASA is where the best rest facility is that the participants of the study will live in for a minimum of 97 days.
The participants will be divided up, with one of the two groups having to spend 105 days at FARU. They will remain on bed rest, but will also go through many types of aerobic and resistance exercises. The members of the other group will spend 97 days at FARU, but without undergoing the exercises.
Information about the people in both groups will be collected and analyzed, including data about the muscles, bones, circulatory systems, and hearts of each participant.
What if they have to go to the bathroom, or shower?
NASA has arranged it so that the participants in the study don’t have to leave the comfort of their beds to use the restroom or take a shower. If a shower is just the thing one of the subjects of the study needs to feel clean and refreshed, their is a modified shower device participants can use, and you can even take care of the function of eliminating bodily wastes while in bed.
After the minimum 70-day period of bed rest, there will be an additional period of 14 days during which participants are exercise and get used to normal levels of physical activity once again.
A senior scientist on the study, Roni Cromwell, mentioned that one peril of lying down for a long time might be muscle and bone atrophy. That is why the additional two-week period is necessary.
Dr. Richard Stein adds that besides these concerns, people who have been in beds for long periods of time often have a lowered “respiratory capacity” and participants in the study might develop “urinary and constipation problems.”
Spending 70 days or more in bed and getting paid for it might sound like an ideal job, but besides the potential health concerns involved with doing so are psychological ones. People in similar situations, like wounded veterans, sometimes begin to feel anxious, and wanting to be able to get up and get involved in the world again, or they might begin to experience feelings of depression.
Would you spend 70 days in bed if you could earn $1,200 per week? Don’t answer “yes” too quickly; it might sound like the easiest way in the world to earn money, but if you think about it, extended bed rest might be more like a nightmare than a dream job. Read more about the study at the NASA bed rest studies website.
Written by: Douglas Cobb