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Some brave people will lie down for science soon — and they won't get up for a long, long time.
A 60-day bed-rest study funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA begins in Cologne, Germany, on Monday (March 25). Eight male and four female volunteers will take to the beds at the German Aerospace Center's :envihab facility, to help scientists better understand how spaceflight affects the human body. The scientists call the experiment the Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study, according to German space officials.
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If you think this sounds like a dream gig, you may want to reconsider. For starters, there's no sitting up; each volunteer must keep at least one shoulder in contact with the mattress at all times. And the beds' head ends will be tilted 6 degrees below the horizontal, so blood flows away from the participants' legs, ESA officials said.
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In addition, the poor folks will be regularly plunked into a centrifuge and spun up, to push blood back out toward their extremities.
A bed-rest-study bed at the German Aerospace Center's :envihab facility in Cologne, Germany.
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