What's the Latest Development?
NASA is currently looking for people who are willing to lie in a special bed, tilted head-down at a six-degree angle, for 70 days...straight. Selected participants will be paid $1,200 per week for 15 weeks: a total of $18,000. There are a number of caveats: Candidates will need to pass rigorous physical and psychological tests to ensure that they resemble, according to the application form, "the [NASA] astronaut population." Those selected can spend their time doing anything they want -- surfing the Internet, reading, even working remotely if their job lets them -- so long as they don't get out of bed.
What's the Big Idea?
The study is meant to examine the effects of microgravity on humans during extended space missions. Tilting the bed affects the cardiovascular system in ways similar to those experienced in space, and lying in a horizontal position causes muscle and bone density atrophy. After the 70 days end, test subjects will perform a series of exercises and tasks that resemble those astronauts would do once they arrived at their destination. Senior scientist Roni Cromwell says that the results "will [eventually] help astronauts maintain their health while in space."
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