A group of 12 volunteers will stay in bed for 60 days straight

The participants in this long study will be kept in beds titled to 6° with their feet up.
Mrigakshi Dixit
BRACE bedrest study.
BRACE bedrest study.


Around 12 volunteers have agreed to stay on the bed for at least 60 days. Reason? In the interest of space science research.  

However, it is not as simple as one might think. The volunteers will have to execute their day-to-day activities — such as meals, showers, and nature calls — from their beds only, and one shoulder must always touch the mattress. Apart from that they will also perform activities such as cycling and spinning by remaining in bed. 

The research project is called Bed Rest with Artificial Gravity and Cycling Exercise, or BRACE. “The study investigates how cycling could counteract the changes the human body experiences in space,” as per the official European Space Agency (ESA) statement. 

Study to assess health conditions

The experiment will involve several groups, each of which will be tasked with different activities, such as everyday cycling on a bike mounted on their beds. While one group will cycle inside a centrifuge machine, and one other group of participants will rest the entire time. 

“We hope to understand the added value of artificial gravity to the fitness routine astronauts follow on the International Space Station. The crew exercises two hours per day in orbit,” said Angelique Van Ombergen, who heads the ESA’s Human and Robotic Exploration branch, in a statement.

The study is funded by France’s space agency, the National Center for Space Studies (CNES), and it will be conducted at MEDES, the Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology in Toulouse, France.

The research is also important for Earth 

The participants in this two-month-long study will be kept on beds tilted to 6° with their feet up. This position allows blood and fluid to flow to the head, whereas prolonged bed rest causes muscle loss. Both of these have been identified as major health issues in long-term space travel.

Because of lack of gravity, the human body undergoes a variety of changes during space missions. Space affects almost every aspect of their body, from their eyes to their hearts and bones

Scientists will be able to better understand how their bodies respond to such changes if they remain in this position for an extended period of time. This knowledge will pave the way for future development of solutions to limit the negative health effects on astronauts living in space.

The study will also have a significant impact on the development of better treatments for certain medical conditions. “Results from space analogs can be useful to design better treatments for the elderly and for patients with musculoskeletal conditions and osteoporosis on Earth,” said Van Ombergen.

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