The Right Stuff- Astronaut’s Challenge
How much would it take to convince you to spend three months lying in bed. Three months in which the overwhelming majority of your day would be spent lying down. Eating, drinking, sleeping etc.
CNN has the story about one man who did so in the name of science.
“We know that bone loss in space is an extremely significant problem. Astronauts lose about 10 times more bone every month than a postmenopausal woman on Earth loses,” says Dr. Peter Cavanagh, former director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Space Medicine. Bone loss occurs presumably because astronauts don’t get enough load-bearing exercise in zero gravity. Cavanagh says that their findings may later contribute to new treatments for the millions of Americans
who suffer from osteoporosis.
Roderick Jones is doing his part to help further the field of skeletal health by staying in bed — for 84 days straight.
The 40-year-old chemist was in between jobs when he saw a curious ad on the Internet. He recalls reading, “Do you have projects you’d like to complete. Would you like a small vacation while you’re actually helping the NASA space program?” Rod had always been a science fiction fanatic. A chemist by trade, he was in between jobs and trying to save for a family move from Ohio to Georgia. After several interviews, physiological and psychological tests, it was determined that Rod had the right stuff.
For three months straight, Rod lay not only in a horizontal position, but with his body tilted 6 degrees towards his head. Most of his days were filled with watching television, surfing the Web and writing in a log he called the, “Bedpan Chronicles” named for what he deemed to be one of the toughest parts of the assignment. He ate, slept, read, typed, talked on the phone, and drank — all
while lying down.His compensation for being bed bound for 12 weeks? $12,000 for the entire
project. Rod is the twelfth study subject, and NASA is halfway through the project. Cavanagh points out how difficult enrollment has been, “So far, for every 300 applicants, only one person has the right stuff.”
Researchers claim that lying at a 6-degree angle is the best way to simulate zero gravity, here, on Earth. This simulation doesn’t come cheap. NASA estimates that placing one subject in bed for a period of three months or so costs about a quarter of a million dollars.”