NASA Offering Volunteers $18k to Lie in Bed for 70 Days

Ruley

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Sep 3, 2010
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NASA Offering Volunteers $18k to Lie in Bed for 70 Days



Lazy test subjects are needed in an effort to research the long term effects of space exploration on astronauts.

When looking towards achieving manned missions to other planets, you are often looking at a long flight time that cannot be helped by holiday travel comparison sites. The lack of physical exertion on astronauts in zero gravity can cause their bodies to deteriorate, with losses in bone and muscle density being among the most prominent effects. This can cause major issues with the reintroduction of gravity when coming to performing tasks on other planets, not considering the stresses on the body experienced when entering an alien atmosphere. NASA has long been researching ways to combat the effects of weightlessness and inactivity on the body. Now, an experiment has been re-opened to the general public to lie in bed for 70 days to investigate the effects of space exploration on the human body.

The long-term bed rest study is based in NASA's Human Test Subject facility at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston. Although you might not expect it, there is a criteria for those seeking to join. Beyond the usual medical checks including a drugs and alcohol screening, every participant is expected to pass the Modified Air Force Class III Physical test. NASA is seeking to emulate the same physical condition an astronaut would be in as closely as possible. "We don't want couch potatoes for this study," says researcher Ronita Cromwell of the Flight Analogs Project.

Unfortunately for half of the subjects, the title given to the experiment is misleading. The volunteers will be split into two groups. The first will lie in bed for 70 days at a six degree downward tilt, this group experiences the cardiovascular symptoms familiar to astronauts. The second group will participate in a "variety of resistance and aerobic exercises," all whilst remaining in bed for the same period of time. In both groups, sitting up is not allowed. Devices have been created to help them shower and go to the bathroom whilst staying reclined. The groups sound like polar opposites of each other, but both will engage in a series of simple tasks whilst in an MRI machine, so there is some activity involved for the first group as well.

After the 15 week testing period, both groups will be stood up and asked to perform a series of simple tasks like walking a certain distance, lifting boxes and using equipment. The idea being that this is the same experience astronauts will have straight after landing on another planet. For temporary expeditions, time can be a valuable asset that can't be wasted. It is unknown just how long it would take for astronauts to readjust to a gravity environment. After testing is done, all participants will undergo a two week recovery program to help get back on their feet before going home.

It is definitely a unique way to earn some money, whilst at the same time aiding the scientific progress of future NASA missions. What researchers found most interesting and unexpected about this experiment is that many past participants often request to come back for future programs.

source: Science Recorder [https://bedreststudy.jsc.nasa.gov/]

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Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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I read about an experiment like this some years, but only lasting a week.

Apparently the participants lost an average of 5% of their muscle mass. After one week. I hate to think what 70 days would do to you.
 

Chemical123

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A similar study was conducted a few decades ago in Soviet Union, long story short 18k is not worth the damage that is going to be inflicted upon the totally immobile group. If I remember correctly the guy who spent 1 month in bed like that suffered from several physical problems(weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle distrophy) and psychological problems as well (depression).
 

kajinking

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Wow this actually seems like a more stressful way to earn 17k than just working for it.
 

PsychicTaco115

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Just applied, because I has the curiosity :3

Seems interesting and I'm always willing to give my body for THE MOTHERLAND SCIENCE!
 

CriticalMiss

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Sign me up!

"We don't want couch potatoes for this study," says researcher Ronita Cromwell of the Flight Analogs Project.
Oh, never mind then.

I'm curious as to how much freedom they have to move, the article says they aren't allowed to sit up but can they lie on their side or lift their knees up? If they are in the same position for that long they'll probably get bedsores or something. Still, that's a lot of cash just for lying in bed for weeks.
 

MrBaskerville

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I think i would need a bit more than that before i would go with it. One thing is the physical damage but it's also going to be boring as hell!
 

toomuchnothing

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CriticalMiss said:
If they are in the same position for that long they'll probably get bedsores or something.
Turning every 2 hours is the accepted standard in most long term care facilities/hospitals I've worked in although its more than immobility that will determine whether they develop pressure ulcers. The Braden scale [http://www.bradenscale.com/images/bradenscale.pdf] is a good way of determining risk. Personally I don't see the point of this test unless it is to expressly test the effectiveness of a new bed confined exercise regime that wouldn't have any similarities to those already used in hospitals today. As good as 18k sounds I've seen first hand what muscle atrophy can do to someone so I would only hope there is some sort of rehab available to participants afterwards.
 

Something Amyss

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Chemical123 said:
A similar study was conducted a few decades ago in Soviet Union, long story short 18k is not worth the damage that is going to be inflicted upon the totally immobile group. If I remember correctly the guy who spent 1 month in bed like that suffered from several physical problems(weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle distrophy) and psychological problems as well (depression).
As someone who was bedridden due to medical conditions, yeah, that doesn't surprise me. I'm still fighting a lot of problems, and I didn't have a bloody choice.

I can't imagine volunteering to do this, even FOR SCIENCE!
 

Angelous Wang

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Oct 18, 2011
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I don't think a 70 day backlog is worth 18k.

I don't think they'd allow you to have sex whilst on the study and I'd imagine they would be spying on the participants to make sure they stay in bed and will probably monitor their internet use (because the government does that for fun) which will stop masturbation ... for civilized people anyway ...

That said Lazy people shouldn't even apply for this because they'd just fail the "Modified Air Force Class III Physical Test".

They want active people to be lazy, I can see that blowing up.
 

LostCrusader

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Feb 3, 2011
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Why not look at coma patients instead of making people intentionally damage their bodies? I find it hard to believe that family/spouses of the coma patients couldn't give consent for having some of the medical costs covered. Or are they looking for the mental effects as well?
 

DiamanteGeeza

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They have to be offering a damn sight more than a piddling $18k for any sane person to inflict that onto not only their bodies, but just think what it'll do to your mental state. I'd go stark raving mad lying down for that length of time, especially if I got picked to be in the do-absolutely-nothing group. At least the exercise group have some muscle stimulation.

This sounds like something the bad guy from the movie Seven would dream up!! ;-)
 

MorphingDragon

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LostCrusader said:
Why not look at coma patients instead of making people intentionally damage their bodies? I find it hard to believe that family/spouses of the coma patients couldn't give consent for having some of the medical costs covered. Or are they looking for the mental effects as well?
Coma patients aren't typical subjects as the cause of the coma can also effect results.

Also psychological aspects also have to be considered.
 

Abomination

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Dec 17, 2012
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That's 32.12/hour if you turn those 70 days into 8 hour days of work.

But if you're counting every hour as a working hour you'd only be earning 10.71/hour.

I feel the tests are not an accurate representation to actual space idleness since it is ignoring things like weightlessness - which I imagine would only cause even MORE issues with the body not receiving enough exercise.

And now all I can think about is how you would poop...
 

Abomination

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MorphingDragon said:
LostCrusader said:
Why not look at coma patients instead of making people intentionally damage their bodies? I find it hard to believe that family/spouses of the coma patients couldn't give consent for having some of the medical costs covered. Or are they looking for the mental effects as well?
Coma patients aren't typical subjects as the cause of the coma can also effect results.

Also psychological aspects also have to be considered.
Not to mention there was the part about wanting them to get up and perform physical tasks.

Imagine waking up from a coma and some guy telling you he needs you to put this suit on, hop in that white buggy, drive over there, get out and pick up that box.

... okay these orders need to be given by GLADOS just to REALLY fuck with people.
 

Hero in a half shell

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I've always wondered why they don't just use spring-resistance devices to train against in zero gravity. I mean, why bother with 70 days of scientific study when you can just throw some chest expanders into the shuttle?

Also I like the picture you used of the bed ridden guy with a "Scene It" game beside him. What better way to mess with lonely immobile people than surround them with multiplayer only boardgames?