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NASA and the European Space Agency are offering 24 people a dream job – to stay in bed for two months.

Sound crazy? Well, it is a real thing.

The agencies are looking for 12 men and 12 women to stay in bed for at least two months to research how the body changes in weightlessness.

In doing this, scientists hope to create methods that can counteract the impacts of weightlessness.

The catch?

You must know German pretty well. Also, the stay in bed for two months could cause some damage to the body.

According to their website, a stay in space, in weightlessness, changes the body. The reduced physical stress leads to the breakdown of muscles and bonesIn addition, the body fluids shift towards the head. The same is observed in people who lie in bed for a long time. Therefore, the study simulates the condition in space with bed rest. In order to simulate conditions as similar as possible in space, the subjects have to lie with the head 6 degrees down.

The results of the study help scientists develop more effective countermeasures or preventive measures so that astronauts on the space station do not have to spend most of their day doing sports. A promising countermeasure is driving in a so-called short-arm human centrifuge, which generates artificial gravity and distributes body fluids back into the body. You will also test this method – 30 minutes every day.

The study lasts a total of 89 days: 15 days of familiarization, 60 days of bed rest and then 14 days of rest and astronaut rehab, where you will be fit for everyday life again. 

In addition, there are four follow-up visits: after 14 days, three months, one year and two years. You live in a single room in the research facility during the 89 days: envihab. Humidity and room temperature are kept constant throughout the study period. During the 60 days of bed rest, you are lying exclusively. The bed is inclined at 6 degrees with the head end downwards. Eating, washing, showering, going to the toilet, leisure activities (eg reading or watching TV) etc. – everything takes place while lying down. The research team makes sure that you do not get up or lift your head.

To provide you with enough fluids and nutrients, your diet is standardized. An in-house team of nutritionists takes care of the diet of the subjects. You put the individual amount of food on the gram exactly, so you do not gain weight and are supplied with everything that the body needs. The meals are not “extra healthy” – there are sometimes pancakes or sweets – but it is for example cooked without additives or artificial sweeteners. The diet should be such that it can not influence study results. This is important because if a test subject loses bone mass during bed rest, it is by no means due to a calcium deficiency.

The study begins in September of this year and ends in December. Click here to learn more.


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