Get Paid to Rest: European Space Agency Offers 18,000 Euros for Two-Month Bed Rest Study Volunteers

The European Space Agency’s Experiment: Getting Paid to Lie in Bed for Two Months

The European Space Agency (ESA) is conducting a new experiment involving 12 volunteers to study the effects of lying in bed for extended periods of time, which includes cycling, spinning and constant medical tests throughout the study.

The Experiment

The 88-day experiment conducted by the ESA involves 12 male volunteers aged 20 to 45. For 60 days of the study, participants will lie in beds tilted 6 degrees below horizontal with their legs elevated while they undergo testing procedures. Volunteers are required to keep one shoulder on the mattress at all times, eliminating meal times, showers, and even toilet breaks. As blood rushes to the head and muscles get underutilized, scientists will observe how the participants’ bodies react.

Purpose of the Study

The study called BRACE (short for Artificial Gravity and Exercise Cycling Bed Rest) is the first to look at how cycling resists the changes that the human body undergoes in space. Astronauts’ bodies undergo a wide range of changes due to the lack of gravity, from affected eyes to hearts beginning to lose muscle and bone. The study aims to provide an opportunity to test physiological countermeasures.

The Benefits

Cycling was chosen because it is already an integral part of the daily physical training of astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The crew does two hours of exercise a day in orbit. The results of the study are expected to help explore possible countermeasures to the changes that the human body undergoes in space. Also, the results could be useful for developing better treatments for the elderly and patients suffering from musculoskeletal diseases and osteoporosis on Earth.


The volunteers will be rewarded for their services with €18,000 (£15,600) each.


The study began from last April to July 2023, and the follow-up study will run from January to April 2024. The experiment could pave the way towards better understanding of the human body’s physiological response to space exploration, and treatment development for those with similar conditions on Earth.

Source: Daily Mail