Calling all couch potatoes: this is definitely not a drill. NASA is legitimately offering some lucky candidates the opportunity to earn $100,000 as participants in their latest research studies. Your job? Stay in bed for two whole months. Finally, a job description exists that we can all get excited about! But don't go filling out your application form too soon - there are some pretty dire consequences for those who choose to stay in bed for that long...
Seeking Candidates For 'Best Rest' Studies
NASA has only just announced the tempting role, which calls for candidates willing to participate in some pretty full-on 'best rest' studies. The catch? You have to stay in bed for 60 days. Before you scream "sign me up now!" you should be aware of some slightly concerning side effects. Once you have all the information, we'll be surprised if you still want to apply!
It's Not As Easy As It Sounds
NASA aren't going to choose just any old lazy bones for their bed rest experiments. Successful candidates will have to pass NASA's rigorous physical and psychological exams before they're permitted to participate in the studies. That's right, you'll have to have the characteristics of a literal astronaut in order to make it in bed for two months.
Your Muscles Will Slowly Deteriorate
As a participant, you could count on a fair amount of muscle atrophy, due to disuse. You'd still be able to use your arm muscles for a range of tasks, such as computer use, playing games, reading, writing, eating, and more. But, deterioration would likely occur along the back and the lower half of the body. This would be a true nightmare for gym junkies.
Your Bone Density Will Suffer, Too
Conditions will be set to simulate space, which means your bone density will most definitely decrease during the experiment. This is a common side effect for any astronaut returning from space missions. The immune system will also be weakened, causing you to get quite sick throughout the 60 days. But hey, at least you'll be living life like a real astronaut!
If all that didn't convince you, perhaps the bed situation will. You won't be living it up at The Ritz during this study, that's for sure. The beds used in the study are designed to simulate how space affects the cardiovascular system. They are tilted, head down, at a six-degree angle, and will result in lowered blood pressure and a decrease in blood volume.
You Can Forget About Going To The Bathroom
The rules make it very clear that you can do whatever you like, as long as you're in bed and lying down. But - unlike when you get a day off work to lounge around - you won't be able to cruise to the fridge for a snack, go to the bathroom, or take a shower. Don't ask us about the toilet logistics, we're sure NASA will fill you in on that.
What's The Point?
Bed rest experiments are designed to study how the body fares after prolonged periods of rest. NASA hopes to get more information about how muscle atrophy affects astronauts when they're in space. The lack of gravity up there results in muscle deterioration and a decrease in bone density, so astronauts are usually in pretty rough shape when they return to earth.
It Will Pave The Way For Healthier Astronauts
NASA hopes that the study will lead to better solutions for keeping astronauts healthy while they're up in space. They also want to understand how "one's changing physiology in space may affect the process of certain missions." It will allow NASA to develop new ways to slow or completely prevent the kind of physical impairments that are common in space.
Bed Rest Studies Aren't A New Thing
Throughout NASA's history, these kind of 'space simulation' experiments have been crucial to their success and the ongoing improvement in working conditions for astronauts. They conducted a very similar bed rest experiment in 2014, which required candidates to lie down for 70 days, for a sum of $18,000 - nowhere near as good as the $100,000 they're offering this time!
This Is What It's Like
A participant from NASA's 2014 study ended up wishing 'eternal damnation upon all of NASA.' "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. Still interested?
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