Published July 31, 2008
It may not sound like much of a job — three consecutive months in bed — but NASA says the participants in its bed-rest study are providing valuable information for the space program.
The test subjects are paid $10 per hour, or about $17,000 over the course of the study, which is carried out at the University of Texas, according to a report by MyFOXHouston.com.
They spend three months lying down, and the preparation and rehabilitation take up another month.
MyFOXHouston.com reports that NASA's Flight Analog Research Unit is looking for ways to minimize the debilitating impact of zero gravity in space, which can cause reduction in muscle mass and bone density.
One way to recreate those conditions on the ground is for test participants to lie down with head slightly tilted back for 90 days.
"It's very relaxing at times. This is probably the most I've sat still in 10 years," participant Heather Archuletta told MyFOXHouston.com.
They can shower, surf the Internet and watch DVDs, all while remaining in bed. Afterward, the rehabilitation phase is key to the study, because NASA tests ways of bringing their bodies back to normal.
"I just wanted to help out the space program keep astronauts more healthy so we can make it to Mars," said Archuletta, who updates an online blog from her test bed.