One of the best parts of working in a library is stumbling across weird items in the discard pile; occasionally, you come across a gem like this one: "A Study Of Women As Space Flight Candidates" from Space World magazine.

"Twelve women are winding up five weeks of medical tests at NASA's Ames Research Center In Mountain View, Calif., in which they have been spun, examined, and studied in a research project to help set medical standards for candidates for flight on the Space Shuttle scheduled for operation at the end of this decade."

All twelve women involved in the study were Air Force nurses; the study was intended to test the stresses of space flight during "the time when persons other than pilot-trained astronauts will be making these flights."

Bedrest was an essential component of the study, which I'm assuming is where all of these cheesecake astro-babe pictures came from: "During the bedrest period, the subjects had to remain horizontal at all times, except during meals when they were permitted to raise themselves on one elbow."

"Television, stereo, books, other entertainments, and a lot of needlework by the participants helped make non-testing periods less wearing."

One of the Air Force nurses is strapped down to be tested during a simulation of reentry acceleration forces.

This woman is wearing prismatic glasses, which allow her to read her Cosmopolitan while remaining completely horizontal. Which is good news for future astronauts who hope to trap an alien lifeform with 10 Sexy Tricks.

And this, of course, is Sally Ride, who became the first American woman to travel into space, nearly 10 years later.

[Sally Ride pic via Getty.]