DLR is looking for terrestrial astronauts for bed rest study
The fourth and final campaign of the NASA SANS-CM study will begin on 1 May 2023. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is looking for volunteers to support medical research in space as terrestrial astronauts. They will be paid 11,000 euros for 30 days at an altitude of 6 degrees.
As we know from six decades of human spaceflight, the loss of gravity causes a number of physiological changes in the body. Muscles and bones break down, and body fluids shift toward the head, which can affect the eyes. Similar observations can be made in bedridden individuals, who show an increased rate of bone loss as early as the second day of bed rest. The goal now is to develop preventive measures or countermeasures to mitigate the negative effects of weightlessness.
As we know after six decades of astronautical space flight, the loss of gravity causes a number of physiological changes in the body. Muscles and bones are broken down, body fluids shift toward the head, which in turn can affect the eyes. Similar observations can be made in bedridden individuals, who show an increased rate of bone loss from as early as the second day of bed rest. The goal now is to develop preventive measures or countermeasures that mitigate the negative effects of weightlessness.
30 days of bed rest to simulate weightlessness
Currently, the Spaceflight-Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS)-Countermeasures (SANS-CM) study: "Visual disturbances and neurological changes after stays in space - a study of possible countermeasures" is running at ESA's aerospace medical research facility :envihab in Cologne-Porz. There have already been three campaigns, and the fourth and final one will start in early May 2023. DLR is looking for German-speaking volunteers to spend a total of 30 days in bed in a 6-degree head-down position. This position, which is uncomfortable at first and takes some getting used to, can simulate weightlessness. The blood flows more towards the head, but the circulatory system quickly adapts. There is no need to worry about long-term effects, as the physical changes are reversible. In order to counteract them during the 30-day bed rest, a recumbent bicycle ergometer is used in this campaign.
The "normal life" turned upside down
Those who want to apply must bring 59 days with them - that's how long the study lasts in total. In addition, the following requirements must be met:
- healthy men/women/others between 24 and 55 years of age
- Height: 153-190 cm, BMI: 19-30 kg/m2
- Complete Covid19 vaccination coverage at the start of the study
Those who are selected as probationers after a successful application begin a 15-day acclimatization period. This is followed by 30 days of bed rest, during which all activities of "normal life" are performed while lying down. This includes showering, eating, recreational activities, and going to the bathroom. There is no pillow to ensure that the head remains at a constant 6° downward tilt. And to make sure no one cheats, the correct posture is constantly monitored by a camera. Anyone who makes it through the 30 days (under medical supervision) can look forward to a 14-day recovery period.
The bed rest campaign will run from the beginning of May until the end of June 2023, with follow-up examinations in September 2023 and December 2024. The total compensation of 11,000 euros will be paid in installments. 5,148 euros after half and full completion of the inpatient phase, and 352 euros for each of the two follow-up examinations. Applications are possible via the website of the DLR project management agency.