NASA To Pay People Almost $19,000 To Stay In Bed For Two Months

Researcher Hans Van Dongen, Ph.D., looks over recent polysomnographic sleep recordings at Washington State University Spokane's Sleep and Performance Research Center December 13, 2006 in Spokane, Washington.
Jeff T. Green / Getty Images

NASA and two other agencies have an interesting volunteer opportunity that involves paying people almost $19,000 to spend two months lying in bed watching TV, eating, and reading.

The German Aerospace Agency, in conjunction with NASA and the European Space Agency, is seeking 24 people to participate in a 60-day study that will help scientists learn about the effects of weightlessness on the body, according to a translation of the German Aerospace Agency website. KABC reported that participants will receive about $18,565 for their time.

The website explained that because people who lie in bed for a long period of time seem to experience the same effects as people in weightless conditions. The Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study will simulate conditions of weightlessness and study its effects on the human body. Scientists are hoping the results of the experiment will help them develop techniques to counteract the negative effects of weightlessness that astronauts experience.

The study, which will take place on the grounds of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Germany, was commissioned by the German Aerospace Agency. The experiment will last a total of 89 days, which includes 15 days of familiarization, 60 days of the actual study, and 14 days of rehab, according to the German Aerospace Agency. Participants will also have four follow-up visits during the course of two years following the study.

During the 60-day portion of the experiment, participants will live in a single room at the research facility, called the “Envihab,” where they will spend their days lying in a bed. Volunteers will be provided with sufficient nutrients in the temperature-controlled environment throughout the course of the study.

This opportunity might sound like a dream, but volunteering for study does come with a few stipulations. For starters, in order to completely simulate weightlessness, subjects must lie with their heads down at a six-degree angle — all the time. In addition, there is to be no lifting of the head.

“Eating, washing, showering, going to the toilet, leisure activities (e.g. reading or watching TV) etc. — everything takes place while lying down,” according to the agency’s website.

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The agency added that a research team will make sure that participants do not get up or raise their heads.

After the study, participants will partake in morning stretches and massages for two weeks to help them prepare for life on their feet again.

The agency is looking for healthy, non-smoking women between the ages of 24 and 55 with a solid understanding of German. Applicants can request more information by contacting the German Aerospace Agency.

The study is scheduled to begin in early September.