Enjoy laying around in bed? If you can do it for 2 months, scientists will pay you more than $18,500 to do so as part of a study to gain learnings for future space travel. The German Aerospace Center (DLR), in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA launched the Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study (AGBRESA) this week. The study will test the use of artificial gravity to prevent the muscle and bone atrophy that plagues astronauts when they spend extended periods of time in space. Program participants will need to stay lying down for the full two months, with all experiments, meals, and “leisure activities” taking place while lying down.
“Crewed spaceflight will continue to be important in the future in order to carry out experiments in microgravity, but we must make it as safe as possible for the astronauts,” says Hansjörg Dittus, DLR Executive Board Member for Space Research and Technology. “This bed rest study conducted by DLR, NASA and ESA offers space researchers from all over Europe and the USA the opportunity to work together and jointly acquire as much scientific knowledge about human physiology as possible.”
“The DLR Space Administration is using funds provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to finance the experiments by German scientists, all of whom were selected by ESA to participate in the study. Germany’s strong participation in the ISS utilization program is an excellent framework for German university institutes and research facilities to exploit these unique opportunities – and the findings are relevant to ongoing space research, as well as to terrestrial applications,” says Thomas Galinski, the DLR Space Administration Project Director responsible for the study.
The first batch of program participants began the experiment this week. However, scientists are looking for another round of volunteers for a second study that’ll launch in early September. People interested in the study must have good German language skills; while the program will use both men and women, the program scientists want to see more women volunteer for the effort.