Imagine lying in bed for weeks on end, eating and sleeping without getting up — and being paid handsomely for your trouble.
What sounds like a dream job to some is actually the setup of a new experiment being conducted by NASA and the European Space Agency. The study, which kicked off Monday in Cologne, Germany, aims to assess the health effects of long-duration spaceflight by limiting participants' movements for two months.
Called Agbresa (for Artificial Gravity Bed Rest—European Space Agency), the study will also explore the potential benefits of artificial gravity in helping to keep astronauts healthy on missions to Mars and other far-flung destinations. It’s the first such collaboration between the space agencies, and the first to use a space-age “human centrifuge” to create artificial gravity.