ESA’s volunteers recently finished their third and last session resting in bed in the interest of spaceflight and science. They can return to their normal lives after spending their last 21 days in bed with their feet up.
Images © CNES-E. Grimault, 2013
When astronauts return from a long flight they can need days for their bodies to recuperate from the effects of living in weightlessness. Bedrest studies recreate some aspects of spaceflight to allow scientists to probe how their bodies react and test methods for keeping future astronauts fit and healthy.
This latest study, held in Toulouse, France, tested a high-protein diet and an exercise routine that involves pushing the volunteers down onto vibrating plates while doing upside-down squats.
Resting in bed and getting paid for it might sound like an ideal job, but bedrest puts a huge strain on the participants as they submit themselves to days of monotony, constant tests and a strict diet without being allowed to get up for a walk, fresh air, a shower or even the toilet.
Marc Marenco, said:
“The first days of each session were the worst. The body needs to adapt and I had migraines and backaches.”
Daniel Fandino, who works in a bar when not lying down, explains:
“We are a reference for many articles, I think the data will help scientists move a step further in their research,”