A 5-year strategy for bed rest studies: Call for Ideas

8 March 2005

During spaceflight astronauts lose muscle mass and function as a consequence of a lack of gravity. Bed rest studies on Earth simulate these effects very closely and are therefore used as a method of testing and developing measures to counter the effects of weightlessness on astronauts. ESA invites interested scientists to submit ideas to be considered for inclusion in a 5-year strategy for future bed rest studies.

ESA has very successfully organised and supported a number of bed rest studies. Their focus ranged from the pure investigation of the effects of bed rest to testing of various countermeasures including exercise, physical therapy, medication or optimised nutrition.

Bed rest studies also allow the investigation of some psychological aspects of spaceflight such as being exposed to confinement, reduced mobility, boredom and monotony.

The results of these investigations are also relevant for medical treatment of bed-ridden patients or the elderly

The 5-year strategy aims to allow better long-term planning, coordination with international partners and improved efficiency. The Call for Ideas is intended to gather the most interesting and promising ideas for countermeasures, investigations and/or concepts for the benefit of people on Earth that can bring us closer to these goals and therefore should be considered in the 5-year strategy.

The date for submission of ideas is 15 April 2005

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