German Volunteers Will Lie On Their Backs For 60 Days Straight For Space Research, Because Gravity Is All Sorts Of Crazy
In the most wildly uncomfortable science experiment I've ever heard of, the German Space Agency is having volunteers lie at a six-degree angle for 60 days straight to determine the effects of taking away the typical influence gravity exerts on us. This means they'll have to eat, drink, and even use the bathroom in this position. Yikes!
In what sounds like an experiment inspired by the plot of the movie Old Boy, the participants will have no visitors and be confined to a windowless room whose light, noise, and air are entirely controlled by scientists to simulate space. Ulrich Limper, a cardiologist involved in the study, doesn't do it any favors with this description:
From inside here, there’s no way of knowing whether it’s day or night ... There are no clocks on the walls, and you have no idea what time it is, what season it is.
Did anyone else picture that as a voice-over in a trailer for a psychological thriller?
There have to be some health risks associated with this experiment. I mean, if we're supposed to get up and walk around during a five-hour flight to avoid blood clots, how are we supposed to spend two months in a sedentary position without expecting the same result? In addition, the study was motivated by astronauts' problems with swollen heads, muscle deterioration, and bone loss due to the conditions replicated in the study.
Not to mention, ever get that sensation of blood rushing to your head when you're upside down? Imagine that sensation for 60 days. How was this ever approved by the Institutional Review Board?
If we're really going to look on the bright side here, the subjects are permitted to read, watch movies, and play video games. So if you're looking for an opportunity to expand your literary repertoire, refine your gaming skills, or prepare for film trivia, you've hit the jackpot.
This isn't the first time scientists have done something crazy in the name of space research. For years, we've been sending mice to space to research how the extraterrestrial atmosphere affects health throughout the lifespan.
What I really want to know is, what kind of person signs up for this study? Are they going to work from these recliners? What kind of leave do they get? How much are they being compensated? This would have to be the best-paying study in history to be worthwhile for me. Not even Limper would take part in his own study — which, I would argue, isn't the best of signs. But it's all for the advancement of science, I suppose, and maybe no steps whatsoever for several people could mean "one giant leap for mankind" in this case.
Images: Giphy (2)