Love lying in bed all day? The European Space Agency is paying volunteers £15,600 to do so

Participants in the study will spend 60 days in beds tilted 6° below the horizontal with their feet up – meals, showers and toilet breaks included

By Web Desk

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Photo: ESA
Photo: ESA

Published: Mon 29 May 2023, 4:17 PM

Ever dreamed of a job that involves lying in bed all day and still getting paid? Well, the European Space Agency (ESA) is offering 12 volunteers the chance to do just that.

As part of a new study, the ESA will be paying a select group of volunteers £15,600 to spend two months lying in bed, in order to monitor the changes the human body experiences in space, and develop potential measures to counteract them.


Participants will spend 60 days in beds tilted 6° below the horizontal with their feet up – meals, showers and toilet breaks included.

The job may not be as pleasant as it sounds, however – as part of the study, volunteers will also face cycling, spinning and constant medical tests, all with one shoulder always touching the mattress. According to the ESA, the job will be "a challenging experience for the sake of human space exploration."


Astronauts face similar physiological problems as elderly and bedridden patients on Earth. Long stays in orbit affect their muscles and bones.

As blood flows to the head and muscle is lost from underuse, researchers are charting how the bodies of the participants react.

This is also the first time cycling is part of a bedrest study in Europe. “We hope to understand the added value of artificial gravity to the fitness routine astronauts follow on the International Space Station. The crew exercise two hours per day in orbit,” says Angelique Van Ombergen, ESA lead for life sciences at Human and Robotic Exploration.

The benefit of artifical gravity, the ESA says, is that it acts on all human organs at once. “It could become an effective solution for a healthier body during long-duration space missions, if the technological challenges can be overcome,” adds Van Ombergen.

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