Germany’s Space Agency Is Paying People $19,000 to Lie in Bed for 60 Days in the Name of Science

  • Participants interested in the job must spend 60 days on an inclined bed.

  • The experiment is part of a research project that aims to develop new exercise routines and diets for astronauts.

An astronaut laying on an inclined bed
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Have you ever dreamed of earning a salary by just staying in bed? Well, this utopian dream of many will become a tangible reality for a select few who will be part of a new experiment at the German Aerospace Center—the country's space agency, also known as DLR—in Cologne.

According to the outlet 20 Minuten, the country’s space agency recently launched a job offer that sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. The offer is simple: Lie in bed for 60 days and receive a roughly $19,100 reward.

The DLR, in collaboration with NASA, is conducting a study on the effects of microgravity on the human body. In particular, it wants to find out why astronauts experience coordination problems after long periods in space.

To study this, the DLR is asking 12 candidates to lie on a bed with an inclination of six degrees for two months in complete rest. Under these conditions, scientists hope to be able to predict the physiological changes that can affect astronauts in orbit.

The results of these tests could be crucial in developing new exercise routines and alternative diets to help astronauts during their orbital missions.

Why Laying Down for Two Months Isn’t as Easy as It Appears

Although lying down doesn’t seem to be too demanding a requirement, the DLR wants the test subjects to be in certain physical condition.

According to the DLR, the selection process will begin in September 2024, and candidates must be between 24 and 55 years old, between 5’’1 and 6’’2, and have a body mass index between 18 and 30. They must also be in good health, non-smokers, and speak fluent German.

The selection process will be conducted through an online event and include questionnaires, telephone interviews, and medical examinations to ensure that applicants are suitable for the study. While the idea of earning roughly $19,100 for two months of absolute peace sounds appealing, the reality may be more challenging.

An astronaut eating while laying on a bed

Edwin Mulder, the scientist in charge of the research, said that “participants in the study do not just stay in bed for 60 days." According to Mulder, the process lasts 88 days, during which the candidates lie down with their heads lower than their feet for 60 days.

In this position, the pressure on the upper half of the body increases while the muscles and bones of the lower half lose tone and deteriorate. This upside-down position also disturbs the person’s sense of balance, which means candidates lose stability with moving. This is the same thing that happens to astronauts in orbit.

Participants will be divided into four observation groups. Each group will have different levels of physical activity, from strength and endurance training to muscle stimulation using electrical impulses. With a little luck, the candidate may be placed in the no-activity group, which will assess the effects of total inactivity on astronauts.

The study requires the candidates to emulate the daily life of astronauts in orbit, so they will perform all the daily activities of leisure, personal hygiene, going to the bathroom, eating, etc., without getting out of bed.

Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

Image | DLR

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