Heart ultrasound of a volunteer during a bedrest study at the MEDES space clinic in Toulouse, France. Volunteers lie in beds with the head end tilted down 6º for months, keeping at least one shoulder on their bed at all times. Intense bedrest such is this is no fun: muscles and bones waste away, and the tilted beds makes blood and fluids move to the head – similar to the changes astronauts endure in space.
As all animals on Earth, humans have evolved to live in gravity so finding ways to stay healthy in weightlessness is important for further exploration of our Solar System. To test new exercise regimes, diets and understand what happens to astronauts, ESA conducts regular bedrest studies that simulate the effects of weightlessness on the human body.