While we generally write about the benefits of standing, this post goes in a different direction: a horizontal one—or more specifically, six degrees past horizontal. NASA is working on a study that requires participants to lie in bed, at a six degree decline, for 70 days. The purpose is to research the effects of microgravity on the human body and learn how different exercises can help counteract physical impairments that result from zero gravity space flight.
Lying for Science
Selected volunteers get paid $18,000 for participating in the study. All you have to do is lie in bed. The catch is that all you CAN do is lie in bed. For 70 days. You are not allowed to leave your specially engineered sleeping pod for 70 days. They’ve even built a custom shower gurney so you don’t have to go 70 days without bathing—but I have to imagine that’s as much for the researchers as for the participants.
Study participants are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want during their time in bed, including work, if their job allows them to do so remotely. They have to do the prescribed daily exercises, but that only takes up a small portion of the day. That brings us to one other catch: you basically have to be in the same shape as an astronaut to be considered for the study. But you won’t be potentially throwing away your astronaut body for nothing. Study subjects are helping further aerospace technology and contributing to healthier astronauts that can better acclimate to the rigors of space travel. If you’re interested in applying, you can do so here.
An Easier Way to Make a Difference
A short-term sacrifice of your body for a cause you believe in can be a unique and worthy experience. However, there’s no need to sacrifice your health by sitting all day. A standing desk can help combat a lot of the negative aspects of a sedentary lifestyle and maybe even get you closer to that astronaut body.