NASA to pay $18,000 for people to be professional couch potatoes
Did you want to be an astronaut when you grew up, but were too lazy to follow through? NASA might have a job for you.
Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 12:30 AM
It's said that if you choose a job you love, that you'll never have to work a day in your life. But what if what you love is to stay in bed all day, surf the Internet and play video games? Well, your dream job has finally arrived. NASA is offering $18,000 to anyone who wants to stay in bed for 70 days straight, reports Forbes.
Yes, you read that right. NASA, the principal employer for most of the world's top rocket scientists, is now hiring couch potatoes.
It's all in the name of science. Apparently, the best way to study the long term effects of microgravity on the human body, aside from the extremely expensive task of sending subjects into space, is to observe how people's bodies respond to being stuck in bed for extremely long periods of time. The research will help NASA scientists plan for long-term space missions.
The study requires subjects to stay in bed 24/7, with their bodies tilted head down at a 60-degree angle. Subjects are afforded a medley of luxuries, and are allowed any activity that does not require the body to move much. For instance, video games, Internet surfing and books are all permitted. Visitors are allowed, of course, and food is completely provided. Meals are designed to help subjects retain their body weight throughout the length of the study.
Subjects will only be allowed to move significantly when scientists carry out tests to measure things like bone density, circulation, nutrition and other vital signs. Some subjects will be occasionally asked to carry out tasks that simulate activity that an astronaut might perform while in space. They'll be provided with 16 hours of light a day, and eight hours of darkness, to help keep sleeping patterns regular.
Before racing to fill out an application, keep in mind that you actually have to be in decent shape to qualify.
“'Couch potatoes' is not an accurate description for what we are looking for. Subjects need to be very healthy,” NASA’s news chief, Kelly Humphries, told Forbes.
The reason for the health requirements is that being such a dedicated couch potato actually takes a huge toll on the body. Muscles atrophy significantly, veins and arteries weaken, and bone calcium depletes at 10 times the rate of an elderly person suffering from osteoporosis. Absent from the effects of gravity, blood pools in the body's extremities. That includes the head, which gives people puffy faces. Subjects really do put their health at risk for the study, which is part of why NASA is paying people so well to basically do nothing.
In other words, being a professional couch potato might be a lot more difficult than it sounds. The only effect on the body that might be viewed as a positive is that height typically increases without the downward pressure of gravity. So subjects are temporarily taller when they first stand up after the 70 days are over.
When the study is done, subjects are put through a 14-day rehabilitation regime to help them get back in shape.
It's certainly not a program for everyone. But if you still think it sounds like a dream job, you can apply online here.
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