They're looking at the effects of "artificial gravity" on the body.
"This bed rest study. offers space researchers from all over Europe and the U.S. the opportunity to work together and jointly acquire as much scientific knowledge about human physiology as possible". The German Aerospace Center was commissioned by NASA and the ESA to conduct this bed rest study. You can contact the German Aerospace Center here.
NASA is offering volunteers $18,500 to stay in bed, watch TV, and read books for two months to study how artificial gravity impacts the human body and how astronauts may be impacted by prolonged spells in space. One participant said it was easier than they imagined and didn't get bored during their time in bed.
"We are interested in how to maintain the health and performance of man - in space and on Earth", according to a statement translated from the DLR website for the project.
Now astronauts on the International Space Station do several hours of exercises a day to fight off the negative results of living in almost weightless conditions, which tend to breakdown muscles and bones. Because there is no gravity to pull blood flow to the legs, astronaut's heads fill with fluids, and their muscles and bones waste away, according to the ESA.
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The first round of volunteers began their 60-day bed rest on Monday.
For 30 minutes a day, study participants will be put in a short-arm centrifuge that slowly spins them to force blood to the extremities. The study will take place in Cologne and will require participants to spend 60 days lying down.
Researchers are still looking for volunteers for the second phase of the study in autumn. You can impress friends and employers with your discipline and perseverance, it notes.
To replicate the effects of being in space, the participants will be made to lie with a slight incline and their feet will be elevated above their head and body.