For those who've dreamed about being an astronaut but would rather stay in bed than do anything else, NASA has a job for you. According to Medical Daily on Sept. 18, NASA is conducting a study called the Bed Rest Study that will place participants in a bed for 70 straight days and pay $5,000 per month.
The study is aimed at helping the astronauts in space work better in weightless environments. And since we don't have much access to weightless environments on earth and there's not really a feasible way to conduct large studies of this kind in space, scientists have found a compromise. Turns out constant bed rest, with the head tilted down, is a cheap alternative to space flight.
The study will look at a new exercise program and how effective it is at helping astronauts, or study participants, to retain muscle strength and cardiovascular function. The study will divide participants into two groups: One group will exercise, the other will not. All exercises done during the bed rest period will take place with participants still lying down. Exercises include weight lifting and using a cycle and treadmill. Think that one over.
The experiment will have three stages. This first is called the Ambulatory Period, where participants can move around the facilities freely. Then comes the 70-day period where participants will be bed-bound 24 hours a day. Food and entertainment, such as TV, books, and games, will be provided.
After the Bed Rest Period, is the Recovery Period, where scientists help the participants become accustomed to normal activities. This period will last two weeks. Overall, Medical Daily said the study can take 97-105 days. Not a bad way to spend three months. And remember, participants are paid by the month. To do nothing.
While this is an incredible opportunity to say you've worked for NASA, the line may not be out with door with volunteers. Lying in bed for three months straight could be a lot harder than you think. After all, there has to be a reason the position pays so well.