Why NASA is Paying People Thousands of Dollars to Stay in Bed
It is a seemingly unattainable dream for many of the world’s population; to get paid to stay in bed. We go through our lives, many people with jobs which remain unfulfilling, and wish for the day to come where we might be able to kick back and watch the cash roll in. But would it be even more unfulfilling if that dream actually came true? There are a few people who may be able to offer insight in to that question.
For people with the aforementioned dream, NASA may well have what you are looking for. They have been on the lookout for candidates for what they call “Bed Rest Studies”, in which people involved in the experiment stay in bed for a total of seventy whole days, straight through. Surely it would get pretty uncomfortable and probably unbearable after not too long. But the kicker? Participants are paid $17,000 for their troubles (or lack thereof) upon completion of the seventy-day period.
They earn $1200 a week to do nothing but Skype, read books, or maybe get really good at their favourite games on PlayStation. In addition to these luxuries, they are allowed computers and phones but on the downside, they aren’t allowed to get out of bed.
The experiment is designed to allow researchers to examine the effects of atrophy on the human body, but more specifically, to find ways of helping preserve the health of astronauts who are exposed to extended space travel.
According to the NASA website, the three main objectives of the exercise are to;
- understand which mission tasks might be affected by changes in physiology during space flight,
- Understand how physiological changes map to a person’s ability to do a particular task, and
- Design countermeasures to prevent or minimize impairment to these physiological systems
“The study will also evaluate the effectiveness of a new exercise program to maintain muscle size and strength, bone health, and cardiovascular function during 70 days of bed rest. The exercise program is called the countermeasure and functional testing (CFT) study,” NASA’s website explains.
There is actually a bit of room to move (so to speak) for participants. There are two groups; non-exercising subjects and exercising subjects. For non-exercising subjects, there is a period of just thirteen days where they are able to move about, both in and out of the bed (but must remain within the facility. After this time, participants are prohibited from leaving their beds for seventy days. Those who are exercising subjects, may leave the bed for the first twenty-one days before being confined. This confinement excludes only the times when it is required to leave the bed to do specific tests on the body’s organs and anatomical systems.
Although it might sound like an easy ride, the reality is that it will probably be extremely uncomfortable, even excruciating. On the plus side though, not only are you helping with the exploration of our universe, but you are also earning a bit of cash too. If you think you have what it takes, then you might want to hit NASA up to see if you can get involved.