Some brave people will soon lie behind science – and they will not get up for a long, long time.
A 60-day study on bed, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, begins on Monday (March 25th) in Cologne, Germany. Eight men and four volunteers will go to bed at the German Aviation Center: Envihab, so scientists will be better able to understand. how space flights affect the human body. According to German space experts, the experiments were called the Artificial Gravity Study of Beds.
(Bed rest is a common research tool in the human-space community, it can cause muscle atrophy and loss of bone density, just as long-lived in microgravity.)
Related: Human body in space: 6 strange facts
If you think it sounds like a dream concert, you may want to reconsider. For starters there is no sitting; every volunteer must always keep at least one shoulder in contact with the mattress. The ends of the head beds will be inclined 6 degrees below the horizontal plane, so that the blood will flow away from the participants, ESA officials said.
In addition, poor people will regularly plunked into a centrifuge and rotate to push their blood back towards their limbs.
The battle for centrifugation is an attempt to assess the potential of real life artificial gravity – long-running sci-fi trope – to combat the worst consequences of weightlessness.
This will be the first long-term study of ESA on bed rest: centrifuge for short-term envihab and the first conducted in collaboration with NASA, said ESA officials.
Researchers will perform various experiments during the study; among other factors, the cardiovascular and cognitive functioning, balance and muscular strength of the participants will be measured. Such data will be prepared by ESA, NASA and their partners for trekking in the moon, Mars and other deep space destinations, said the members of the project team.
"In order to allow these missions to be made, it is necessary to reduce the various risks to the health of astronauts," said Jennifer Ngo-Anh, Head of the ESA Research Group in the statement. "This study allows us to address the issue of muscular atrophy caused by weightlessness, as well as other stressors such as cosmic radiation, insulation and spatial constraints."
Mike Wall's book on the search for alien life, "Out there"(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; Illustration: Karl Tate), it's gone now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.