NASA Wants Your BodyJessica Cohen
The folks at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, are seeking volunteers who are willing to lie in bed for a whopping 70 days for $10,000.
Here’s how it works. Potential participants must be between the ages of 24 and 55. They must be in good health, which means no smoking and no taking of medications or hormones. Female applicants may not be pregnant or menopausal. Once screened for wellness, selected participants will make the Johnson Space Center their home for two weeks, doing regular activities so that scientists can see their bodies in “normal” circumstances. Next you will head to NASA’s Flight Analogs Research Unit (FARU) at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, where you will lie in a bed for 70 days.
Wait, there’s more. You will be lying with your body tilted back and your feet raised, because that is the position which mimics the physiological effects of microgravity. There will be items to keep you occupied and the beds will be positioned next to other participants so there is someone to talk to while you are there. You may not get out of bed unless it is part of the scientist’s testing. Once the 70 days have passed you will enter a recovery period. For the next two weeks, you will gradually begin to resume normal activity.
So it is not really 70 days but closer to 105 days when all is said and done.
This is all a part of NASA’s study of how microgravity affects the human body. You know those images of astronauts floating around freely inside the space station? That is due to microgravity. NASA scientists would like to get a better idea of how it will affect astronauts.
The study also has an exercise component for some of the participants. Those selected for the exercise study will exercise while lying down, positioned on specially designed exercise equipment, including a treadmill, cycle, and weight machines. There will be a three-week pre-training program to familiarize yourself with the equipment.
For those lazier folks and those hard-pressed for cash, the chance to just lay in bed for 70 days and make money doing it may sound like a great gig. However, let me say this. As someone who spent a grand total of 69 days on bed rest during pregnancies, this “opportunity” does not sound like much of an opportunity. It sounds more like a return visit to hell. And that is coming from someone who was allowed to get up to use the restroom.
Oh, how I would love to get a show of hands from moms who experienced extended bed rest when they were pregnant to find out if any of them would even consider this as a remote possibility.
I don’t know about you, but I have a headache just thinking about being positioned in a head down, feet up bed rest for 70 days. Let us also not forget that this means no showers for 70 days either. Can you even imagine the smell in that room? And I thought it smelled unbearable in my car after driving three boys home from soccer practice. Whoa.
While it may not be due to microgravity, even 10 days in bed makes a person cranky, weak, sluggish, bored, and lonely — even with an abundance of food, sleep, and entertainment. Take it from me. Your muscles begin to atrophy, you eat out of boredom, and you become increasingly irritable by the day. Multiply that lovely image by 7 .
So thanks for the offer, NASA, but I am afraid that I will have to pass. However, if this experiment still sounds appealing to you, go ahead and sign up here.
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