Ever wish someone would pay you to stay in bed?
The only catch: You can't get out of bed for 70 days.
NASA is looking for study participants to help with its research into the effects of long-term spaceflight on the human body.
Scientists claims that having people lie in bed for 70 days is the easiest way to study the effects of microgravity on the body without having to opt for the more expensive option: actually sending people to space.
"Watching you will help scientists learn how an astronaut’s body will change in weightlessness during space flight in the future," the agency said in a statement.
"Being able to test new ideas on Earth saves invaluable flight time," Joe Neigut, Flight Analog project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, told Forbes. "What the bed rest does to their [test subjects'] physiology and how the exercise countermeasures benefits their physiology helps us better prepare and protect astronauts when they are in space. In fact how it affects the physiology can be applied to everyone on earth."
Approved bed-rest participants — sorry, couch potatoes, you have to be very healthy to make the cut — will be paid $18,000 for 15 weeks of their time.
After spending two weeks at the Johnson Space Center, where scientists will observe participants' bodies in normal conditions and participating in normal activities, study subjects will move to NASA's Flight Analogs Research Unit (FARU) at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, where they will spend the next 70 days lying in a bed tilted head-down at a six-degree angle.
Getting out of bed is not an option. A modified shower gurney allows participants to bathe. Meals are delivered to their bedside. Participants can read books, Skype with friends, check Facebook, watch TV and even work — an easy way to boost that work-from-home income?
"And, for those with relinquished childhood dreams about being an astronaut, there may be an altruistic element to participating in the project: in doing so, you’re actually helping the country further conquer the final frontier – space," wrote Forbes' Maseena Ziegler.
When astronauts finally land on Mars, people from the 70-days-in-bed study will be able to take some credit for getting them there.
"Subjects in the study look at it as a way to help," said Dr. Roni Cromwell, senior scientist on the bed rest study. "In that what we eventually do will help astronauts maintain their health while in space."
At the end of the bed-rest period of the study, participants will be given a 14-day recovery period before returning to their normal lives.
Apply for the study here. Sorry, Canadians. This opportunity is just for our neighbours south of the border.
If you could, would you spend 70 days in bed for the sake of space travel?