Would you let NASA watch you sleep on a slight, six-degree decline for free? What about for $18,000 and a little certificate saying you were once an assistant astronaut, but also with the catch that researchers could draw funny, ineffable doodles on your face with a laundry marker? If you’re in reasonably good shape and reasonably comfortable bathing yourself with a special bed-bathing device, you might get the chance to sleep in front of strangers for $$$.
The sleep study — 70 days lying in a bed tilted at a six-degree downward angle — is intended, according to CBS, to “test the conditions that astronauts might experience while traveling in space.” Since there’s no gravity IN SPACE (edit: the prepositional phrase “in space” will henceforth be capitalized to connote space’s boundless majesty), astronauts don’t expend a whole lot of physical effort getting around their tiny, closet-sized space dormitories. Researchers in the sleep study will gather data on participants’ bones, muscles, heart and circulatory systems, nervous systems, nutritional conditions and their abilities to fight off infections as they lie still, feeling the blood slowly drain from their head to their untrimmed toenails.
Here are the particulars, in case you’re hard up for cash:
The volunteers will be required to live in a bed rest facility located in NASA's Flight Analogs Research Unit (FARU) at the University of Texas Medical branch in Galveston, Texas. The subjects will be split into two groups. Some will be required to spend 105 days living in the facility and go through a variety of resistance and aerobic exercises while remaining on bed rest. The others will spend 97 days, and will not be required to do the exercises.
The pay is $1,200 per week for 15 weeks of work. There are a few catches, of course, the first being that you can’t get up, not even to go to relieve yourself, a bodily function which NASA has neutralized with a specially-designed, taxpayer-funded, in-bed poop aide. Also, no fatties — NASA only wants people who can pass a Modified Air Force Class III physical, which sounds like something Kurt Russell has to do in Universal Soldier. Plus, fat people? IN SPACE? NASA simply won’t allow it, even though dreaming about becoming an astronaut shouldn’t be strictly the fantasy of svelte science majors.
Image via GettyJoe Raedle