Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
NASA Space Science

NASA Offers $5000 a Month For You to Lie in Bed 239

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-know-someone-perfect-for-this dept.
tracer818 writes "In order to study a person as if they were in space without gravity, NASA scientists are paying subjects $17,000 to stay in bed for 90 straight days. The study will follow the Bed Rest Project standard model and be conducted at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Participants will live in a special research unit for the entire study and be fed a carefully controlled diet."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA Offers $5000 a Month For You to Lie in Bed

Comments Filter:
  • I'm in. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mattygfunk1 (596840) * on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:00AM (#23335700)
    Can I bring a friend? In all seriousness, what if you need to rub one out?
  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:01AM (#23335704) Homepage
    I lie in bed all the time:
    "Yes, I love you"
    "Yes, it was good"
    "No, I was not thinking about _her_"
  • Details (Score:5, Funny)

    by abscissa (136568) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:01AM (#23335706)
    Is there a retroactive program?
  • What's that movie? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:07AM (#23335736) Homepage Journal
    The one with Martin Sheen in it and they keep sending the soldiers into nuclear fallout to test whether or not they can advance to ground zero.. oh yeah, that's right Nightbreaker [imdb.com]. How many times exactly does NASA need to study the effect of weightlessness? It's bad, ok? Long term exposure to "micro-gravity" causes not too nice symptoms. Great, move on. NASA never seems to approach anything as a problem that needs to be overcome - or at least they haven't since the '60s. Problem: without some form of gravity, long term space flight is bad for humans. Solution: provide some form of gravity. There's two that readily come to mind; either accelerate the vehicle at 9.8m/s/s or make the vehicle big enough so that you can spin it and not get dizzy. The first uses up way too much energy and just isn't an option at the moment. The second is so damn obvious that Von Braun was talking about it in the '40s. But it has never been done.
    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:15AM (#23335786)
      Look, you know and I know that NASA has probably got better things to do than pay some labrats to learn how to eat, piss, and shit sitting down. The effects are, as you say, well known and obvious to anyone who has ever studied space travel and microgravity environments. Muscular atrophy, loss of balance, and other problems are well known.

      But the department needs to spend its budget or else face cuts next year. With Obama already looking for ways to divert NASA funds into edumacation, the need is dire and if NASA engineers and scientists can't be busy, at least they can look busy.

      I get paid a lot of money to do what I do. But sometimes I just sit around and stare at the monitor and space out. In order to not look like I'm wasting time, I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish, and that's enough to keep me in the green.
      • In order to not look like I'm wasting time, I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish, and that's enough to keep me in the green.
        Do you mean your files, or just any files? The latter sounds very educational, like picking up other peoples stuff from the printer and reading old layers on the meeting room whiteboard.
      • I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish, and that's enough to keep me in the green.
        But I program ASP.NET apps, you insensitive clod!!!!

        How can I simulate the endless compiling of programs in my environment, and look busy doing it?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
          I program ASP.NET apps, you insensitive clod!!!!

          How can I simulate the endless compiling of programs in my environment, and look busy doing it?


          Serious answer. Look into the Visual Studio macro system.

          Holy shit, it's like Microsoft's own engineers built it into the product just to give loafers a means to look busy while actually wasting tons of time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by corbettw (214229)

        But the department needs to spend its budget or else face cuts next year.
        That's understandable, but aren't there other things they can spend tax payers' money on?
      • ...I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish,

        Why not just do: while true; do make clean; make; done :-)

      • by nbritton (823086)
        Why don't you compile something for real, say KDE or OpenOffice... Just run it at "nice -n 20".
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:33AM (#23335912) Homepage Journal

      make the vehicle big enough so that you can spin it and not get dizzy. [..] so damn obvious that Von Braun was talking about it in the '40s. But it has never been done.
      Actually something like that was done on skylab. You don't need to spin the spacecraft. You just need a cylindrical track which you can run around. It works very well.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Nice idea! They should put it in a movie too.
    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:33AM (#23335916)
      Actually, on a more serious note, I saw something like this on Discovery (or NatGeo, I can't remember). The purpose of the study wasn't just to observe patients suffering from bed sores and blood clots. They were subjected to 2 minute exercise regimens every day which were designed to keep them in good physical health even though the rest of the day they were bedridden. The goal was to create exercise devices that could be used quickly and simply without the need for gravity that would provide enough exercise to replace the amount we normally perform here on Earth.

      It looked pretty grueling, even if only for 2 minutes a day.
    • by Tom (822)

      The second is so damn obvious that Von Braun was talking about it in the '40s. But it has never been done.
      Which might be a good sign that while it's obvious, it may not be quite as easy to actually do it. You already mentioned the first problem: Size. "Just make it big enough" isn't a very good answer when you realize that the ISS has a "living volume" of about 425 m^3 - that's a large appartment, no a spaceship like you see in the movies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        TYou already mentioned the first problem: Size. "Just make it big enough" isn't a very good answer when you realize that the ISS has a "living volume" of about 425 m^3 - that's a large appartment, no a spaceship like you see in the movies.
        This was proposed for the Apollo LM and CM. Run a tether between them and use the RCS to spin them up. The LM (being lighter) gets 1G and the CM gets 1/4 G.

        You don't need to build a huge space station.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MBGMorden (803437)
          I also saw the tether idea proposed in one of the brainstorms for a Mars mission. The travel vehicle and the supplies that would be used while actually on Mars would be in seperate containers, and they'd be tethered together by a long retractable cable. They'd essentially rotate around the common center of gravity (somewhere near the middle of the tether) and that would be what moved towards Mars.

          Seemed very interesting. Everything was still small, and it would provide approximately Earth-level gravity i
          • Just a thought: Position yourself near the centre of rotation, match the speed of rotation, grab on, and "crawl" up the tether.

            You'd have to provide barf bags, though it does seem hypothetically possible.

            Alternatively, the rotation could simply be suspended during docking. It'd be energy-intensive to break and restart, but not out of the question....
        • The difficulty isn't in creating the forces, it's in making the forces uniform enough that people don't get dizzy. Humans can detect (and are disoriented) by very small variations in gravity. I can't remember the article, but there was one on it in something from the 80s which indicated the minimum size of such a "space station", and it was definitely non-trivial.
    • Deeper understanding (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:25AM (#23336456) Homepage
      How much artificial gravity do you need? 1.0 G? 0.2 G?

      Will some experimental drugs help counteract the effects of weightlessness?

      Can the problems be alleviated with specific exercises during weightlessness?

      How long will it take to recover after returning to gravity? If an astronaut is weightless on a trip to Mars, can he be back up in a week or a month?

      If you want to treat something as a problem to overcome, you might need to know more than "It's bad", ok?
      • by LurkerXXX (667952)
        I think this is exactly right. They are trying to (with the unfortunate limitation of being located on earth) determine the lowest G rating which will keep the body health long term.

        If it's .5G that the outside of the spinning hull will have to take, that's going to requires a lot more engineering (and hence, weight that has to be lifted into orbit) than if it's 0.1 G

  • by Airw0lf (795770) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:09AM (#23335746)
    Is it just me or did anyone else imagine a test subject waking up one day to see a big black monolith standing at the foot of his bed?
    • Is it just me or did anyone else imagine a test subject waking up one day to see a big black monolith standing at the foot of his bed?
      Actually I imagined being switched off during the night by a computer being fed conflicting requirements.
    • Actually, I was more thinking about hearing: "Hello, and, again, welcome to the Aperture Science computer aided enrichment center." - Adam
  • by mikelieman (35628) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:09AM (#23335750) Homepage
    I think it makes a world of difference in considering the "opportunity".
    • take a blood test
      I doubt the appropriate figure isn't closer to "one each of the 2,160 hours"... and the bed & lab presumably won't be quite as comfy as shown in TFA.
    • by deander2 (26173) *
      hey, don't knock it. those catheter's are convenient. (of course, i was unconscious when it was put in... *that* might be the true deciding factor ;)
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:10AM (#23335756) Journal
    The US is very badly lagging in the international bed rest race! I thought I read somewhere about the ESA doing this two years ago [esa.int] for female astronauts at least. There's some interesting comments on their WISE page [esa.int] such as:

    All volunteers were surprised how fast the time passed by.
    I'll bet that month you spend in bed is completely lost with little or no memories for it.

    And if you really want to know more, they published all their findings for all their experiments in five hefty PDFs [esa.int].
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by somersault (912633)
      Well, you could read a few books, or have a HDTV (for movies/games) in the ceiling above you :) I've been tempted before to just get a TV mounted above my bed but the outcomes of such a thing could be disastrous..! If I get paid to do it on the other hand.. where do I sign up? :)
  • To do today: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bryanp (160522) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:11AM (#23335762)
    Things to do today:

    Find out if NASA will let me have a laptop in that bed.
    Find out if my boss will let me telecommute for the next 90 days.

  • And then...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snarfies (115214) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:13AM (#23335774) Homepage
    Will they also pay to rehabilitate you and your degenerated muscles afterwards?
    • Re:And then...? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by techpawn (969834) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:21AM (#23335832) Journal
      That was my first thought. Then there's the worry of blood clots and bed sores. Being bed bound is not as fun as people think and only for 17K? Your medical bills will be higher to fix all this messes up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *
        Bed sores, or decubitus ulcers, are most often caused when the person laying down either cannot move around readily to relieve the pressure of laying in one place or cannot feel the discomfort caused from laying in one place.

        If you use some isometric exercises, you could minimize the damage of the time in bed.
    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      Good point. This basically amounts to destructive testing on human beings. When the Nazis did that to prisoners, it was an atrocity. When our government does it to volunteers, that's somehow OK?
  • by v1 (525388) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:13AM (#23335776) Homepage Journal
    I know I cannot lay on my back or side for that matter for too much time. More than 6 hrs on my back and my back starts hurting. More than 3 hrs on a side and my shoulder starts aching, so I have to change position at least once a night. I would expect for most, after about two straight weeks things would start getting torturous as there would be no side you wanted to lay on anymore.
  • NASA wants me to lie in bed? I learned to do that in college: "Yes, I'll love you tomorrow." / "No, there are no other girls in my life but you..." / "Of course I'll respect you tomorrow..."
  • This is just not worth the money. It may be good for someone who pretty much sits around doing nothing but watching tv all day anyway (if there is such a person) but for anyone who actually enjoys life this will be a miserable experience.

    Misery deserves far more compensation than 17K.
  • by abolitiontheory (1138999) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:34AM (#23335932)
    alright boys, here's the plan:

    1. lie in bed.

    2. get fed.

    3. profit!

    sound good? let's get to bed!
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:41AM (#23335976) Homepage Journal
    and do a cross promotion, in particular concentrate on World of Warcraft players. With Season 4 PvP gear coming down these people will have lots of reason to spend all their time in one place
  • Give me an bed that can incline and a computer that can play WoW with a net connection and I'm in.
  • by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:03AM (#23336206)
    $5000/month? or $15,000 for 90 days?

    It'd really suck if you got to day 89, and then had a family emergency.

  • I you get DIRECTV with and will be able to use PPV as there some good movies that you will miss be doing this.
  • by mserms (878098)
    I broke my back a few years ago and needed to lie flat on my back for three weeks (nurses rolled me onto my side once a day to wash my back). In that time my legs had become about 1/3 thinner. Not that I cared too much - I wasn't paralysed.

    If I had chosen not to have surgery, I would have needed to lie on my back for twelve weeks. I was told that it would take about two years to get back to normal strength if I'd gone down that route...

    You couldn't pay me enough to be in bed for 90 days.
  • And stupid me laying in bed for free. Does diet coke and twinkies count as a special diet?
  • Though I guess the "carefully controlled diet" probably isn't twinkies, Raman, and Monster, eh?
  • Maybe this will fund a great movie or two.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:27AM (#23336480)
    Considering you are working 24/7, that is pretty low pay rate of under $8/hr. Maybe starving students might take them up on this. I think only 20 year olds would fully recover from this as well.

    I might consider doing it for Ten Times that amount $150k to $200K. Not worth risking my health otherwise.

    Not to mention this would probably feel like torture after a week. My back gets sore if I lay in bed too long on Sunday mornings.

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:54AM (#23336798)
    It sounds like a lot of money, but 90 days in bed will cause a lot of your body atrophy, heart, lungs, legs, etc. Not to mention a lack of vascular assistance in blood circulation could cause clots.
  • by ThinkThis (912378) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:56AM (#23336810)
    The (former) Governor of New York will pay $5000 per hour. Of course the requirements are different than NASA's.
  • USSR did this too. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:10AM (#23336998)
    There was a similar research program in the USSR - subjects lied on bed for 6 months without moving.

    As far as I remember, one subject broke his femur when he tried to stand for the first time after the test. Also, all subjects experienced frequent orthostatic collapses (i.e. they fainted then they tried to stand up).

    The damage was quickly corrected by using calcium gluconate injections and physical therapy.

    Alas, I can't find a source for this in English.
  • by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:14AM (#23337078)
    and $4500 for having to live in Galveston, TX.
  • by mkcmkc (197982)
    I'm pretty sure I saw this in a movie (se7en aka Seven). The guy in the movie didn't look too good after 12 months...
  • They almost pay me that much to do work. If I had to lie in bed for a solid month, I would probably go insane.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

Working...