From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Here's your chance to help humans return to the moon. You can do it without even getting out of bed.
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston is recruiting volunteers to participate in spaceflight simulation studies to help prepare the agency to send astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars and beyond. These studies will use long-term bed rest to simulate the effects of weightlessness on the human body.
Bed rest can closely imitate some of the changes in astronauts' bodies during weightlessness. Scientists developing protective measures to make spaceflight safer for the astronauts can test them in bed rest test subjects.
According to Janice Meck, lead scientist for JSC's Flight Analog Project, "Our volunteers are the key to the success of this project, and they are very special people. We put them to bed to 'decondition' them. In some subjects we will evaluate special treatments to reverse the effects of the deconditioning. Those treatments that work in our bed rest studies will be developed for use during spaceflight by the astronauts. By doing these bed rest studies we can move much faster in the development of these treatments."
One such protective measure to be tested in upcoming studies is artificial gravity. Bill Paloski, lead scientist for the Artificial Gravity Project, said, "Volunteers in the artificial gravity studies can help us turn science fiction into reality by spinning around in our human centrifuge each day during bed rest to help us determine the best prescription to use for gravity replacement therapy."
Participants will stay in a NASA research facility at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for 41 to 119 days depending on the selected study. Studies will include a series of tests that will measure the state of the body for a baseline and determine changes in bone, muscle, heart, circulatory and other body systems.
Participants in the Bed Rest Project must be nonsmokers, age 25 to 55, and in good health. Women must not be using hormones nor be menopausal.
Volunteers who pass an initial screening will be invited to complete a NASA physical exam. Once medically qualified, the volunteer participants will be compensated for their time spent in any additional screenings or during the study participation. If not immediately selected, the participants will remain qualified for one year and could be eligible for other studies.
For more information, contact the Human Test Subject Facility at 1-866-JSC-TEST (1-866-572-8378) or visit: www.bedreststudy.com
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