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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 17 September, 2014

Got what it takes to be a ‘pillow astronaut’?

…you’d get to spend 70 days in bed for a study to test the effectiveness of exercise on loss of muscle, bone and heart function.

Image: bed via Shutterstock

IF THE THOUGHT of spending 70 days in bed sounds like bliss to you, maybe you’d be interested in the latest NASA study.

NASA is looking for so-called ‘pillow astronauts’ to take part in a new study where they will have to spend more than two months in bed.

The Countermeasure and Functional Testing (CFT 70) will take place at their centre in Texas, and will look at head-down tilt bed rest. It’s being set up test the effectiveness of exercise on loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function.

Healthy astronauts

NASA are working on finding ways to keep astronauts healthier and safer when they’re in space. Head-down bedrest, they say, is a good way to mimic a person travelling in space without gravity, so it means they can study people on earth to see what works and what doesn’t for astronauts.

Participants won’t get to cosy up in a comfortable bed, however – they will be in a purpose-built bed, which is tilted down slight so their head is down and feet are up.

They’ll have to stay that way for 24 hours a day for 70 days, without getting out of bed – except for a few limited times with specific tests.

They’ll be tested on seven functional tests throughout the 70 days and the results will be measured.

The exercise portion of the programme will involve exercise using special machines designed by NASA, and will include moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

People who take part will spend 14 days after their 70 days lying in bed to get back to normal everyday activity.

NASA are looking for participants now… if you’re curious, one ‘pillow astronaut’ has been blogging about her experiences on previous studies.

Read: Frog photobombs NASA rocket lift-off>

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