In mankind’s race towards becoming an interplanetary species, we are yet to figure out the logistical implications of extended spaceflight. To get ready for any contingencies that may occur, scientists are creating a simulation to understand what the human body could go through. Their pedagogy is definitely gonna excite many of you.
When astronauts spend a lot of days in space, the weightlessness due to microgravity has certain effects on the human body, such as an increase in height, weaker muscles and bones, and an upward flow of bodily fluids towards the head. A trip to a planet like Mars can’t take a couple of months, aggravating these effects.
To better understand these effects and find better solutions, scientists want to simulate the effect with controlled bed rest. The subjects will be put in a ‘short-arm human centrifuge’ that generates artificial gravity. The experiment will take place at the German Space Agency’s Envihab (stylized as ‘:envihab’), in collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency. The experiment is called AGBRESA (Artificial Gravity Bed Rest – European Space Agency), and the selected test subjects will be paid 16,500 euros (approx INR 13 lacs). This next leg of the experiment is looking for 60 healthy women between the ages of 24 and 55 years, and do not have a history of smoking.
By the end of 60 days, scientists hope that the research will shed more light on the human physiological, neurological, and behavioural outcomes of spaceflight. While the experiment sounds fun, the patrons will be expected to not leave a horizontal position for the entire duration of the experiment, except for when they have to rotate. All activities like eating, bathing and visiting the bathroom will have to be done in this state. The food served will also ensure that the volunteers do not gain any weight. So, not really a vacation.