Monday, May 18, 2015

Head down for 60 days

In Germany, there will be bed rest experiments to simulate the effect of weightlessness on health.  Sure, these have been done before, but the details make me feel queasy just thinking about it:

In the first major study to be carried out in Envihab, the challenge will be to lie in bed for 60 days in a row to study the effects of long duration spaceflight. The experiment starts this summer and the medical team is currently in the process of selecting 12 participants....

 “To cheat gravity, we tilt the subjects head-down by six degrees,” says Limper. “This is very important, so that the head is below the rest of the body.”

Stuck at this peculiar angle, the volunteers will also be expected to eat a nutritionally controlled diet and go to the toilet using bedpans and urine bottles. They will be monitored 24 hours a day on close-circuit TV and even be transferred to special water-proof tilted beds to take a shower.
Then, for more fun, they'll be put in a centrifuge:
Future studies will also employ a device located at the heart of Envihab: a human centrifuge. Contained within a large white (windowless) cylinder, it consists of four arms, around three metres long, arranged in a cross about a central axis. One of the arms is fitted with a bed, so doctors can spin volunteers to simulate varying accelerations.

It is deliberately smaller than most human centrifuges. “We think this is more or less the size we could implement on a space station,” says Limper.
I hope the participants are paid well...

No comments: