(Getting Paid to Do Nothing, or – A Whole New Meaning to Word “Staycation”)
In May, a new batch of test-subjects got ready for the NASA bed-rest experiment. The space agency pays participants $12,000 to stay in bed for 90 days. Seriously, the get paid to do nothing, although they are allowed to roll over and play cards. The goal is to better understand the effects of zero-gravity on the body, since astronauts suffer severe bone loss whilst in space.
Who signs up for this you might ask? People who don’t mind (possibly) parting with a small percentage of their bone? People who used to work for Bear Sterns, Lehman, etc etc? People who are curious about bed pans? Or, (more obviously) people who really like to play video games? Turns out, all sorts – people who need the money, need a vacation, or who want to change careers, some people even want to help the space program so much that they keep their jobs and work from bed.
The program keeps them in bed, with their body raised at a 6˚angle. Everything they do, and I mean everything, has to be done from that position, although, some of the subjects do get taken out for cool, “astronaut, space-type” exercise. So far, exercise seems to be the answer to reducing bone-loss – damn isn’t it always!
From my perspective – NASA conducted this phase of the experiment at entirely the wrong time. Not only were the test subjects deprived of a summer (I would gladly stay in bed during the winter), but they were also subject to one of the great inhumanities: summer broadcast TV repeats!!
So, besides helping astronauts – how is this good news? Well, what they learn might help fight osteoporosis! Enjoy that with your cup of milk and side of cheese.