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France Wants You to Lie on Your Back for 60 Days in the Name of Space Research

But only if you’re a man

If bed is your calling, consider volunteering for an exhaustive—and exhausting—French study. (iStock/satura86)
smithsonian.com

Are you a champion couch potato? A legendary lie-about? If you also happen to be spectacularly fit and have a Y chromosome, The Guardian’s Kim Willsher has the scoop on the perfect job for you: a French study recruiting men willing to lie on their backs for two months for the sake of space research.

It could be the least taxing job ever—a position that pays the equivalent of over $17,000 to volunteers who sign on to spend 60 entire days in bed. The job is being offered by the French Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology, a group working to up French space medicine know-how. In this case, reports Willsher, the seemingly lazy study has a real scientific purpose: to recreate the conditions astronauts experience on the International Space Station while in a weightless environment.

But there’s a catch. Okay, a few. Not only must volunteers be in what the institute calls “perfect” physical health, but they must be between 20 and 45 years of age and male. The study’s idle subjects can’t have allergies or smoke, and they’ll have to commit to doing everything—including eating and going to the bathroom—while prone.

Some of the health effects of microgravity—like changes in chromosomes—have already been documented in people who went to space, most notably twin NASA astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly. But more tests are needed to document what life without gravity might do to healthy people, and short of sending people to space, lying around in bed is the next best thing.

Not that it will be fun. Instead of chocolate and Netflix, volunteers must eat antioxidant supplements and submit to a barrage of tests. And they’ll have to do it all with the head at slight downward incline, an official tells Willsher—not exactly a relaxing vacation.

Think you’re the right man for the job? The institute is accepting applications online.

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