The web version of Popular Science published a list of the “worst jobs in science,” or what they call their “salute to the men and women who do what no salary can adequately reward.” I noted with a chuckle that one of our collaborative programs with NASA made the list:
Number 7: Gravity Research Subject
They’re strapped down so astronauts can blast off
Spend time in outer space, and the lack of gravity will earn you the bloated look astronauts call puffy face, as well as atrophied muscles and bone degeneration. Researchers hope to combat these symptoms by developing artificial-gravity therapies for long voyages. But the only way to approximate the effects of weightlessness is by having volunteers lie still for weeks on end.
Granted, it’s no weekend in Cancun for the study participants, and I’m not sure I could do it. A few weeks tilted upside down in bed might not be ”a giant step for mankind,” but I am one of those people who believe we are destined (or will be driven) to break from Mother Earth, as inevitably as ships slipped their safe ports for the uncharted and unknown waters of the New World a mere five centuries ago. You can’t head off to the stars without first finding solutions to the issues these studies are addressing. More power to you, eartho-nauts. Read the clip…