Call for Ideas to Develop a 5-Year Strategy for Bed Rest Studies
Please note that this Call for Ideas has been closed.
With this announcement, ESA invited interested scientists to submit ideas to be considered in a 5-year strategy for future bed rest studies that are under elaboration.
The spaceflight environment induces numerous changes in the physiological systems of the human body. Currently employed countermeasures against these adaptations have proven insufficient. Especially considering the strong interest and visions for space exploration of most space agencies around the world, there is an urgent need to develop better countermeasures and/or obtain basic knowledge that can help to improve countermeasure concepts. Those novel countermeasures must be validated on the ground, before scarce space resources are committed for final in-flight validation.
One of the settings used for ground-based validation are head-down tilt (-6°) bed rest studies, which simulate a number of important spaceflight changes. Results of these investigations have led to new concepts in physiology that are also relevant for medical treatment of bed-ridden patients or the elderly.
The European Space Agency (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 exercise, pharmacological, nutritional, vibration etc. countermeasures. Many of these studies are implemented in cooperation with the German space agency DLR or the French space agency CNES.
Previous studies have taken place at the German Institute of Aerospace Medicine, the ZMK-Institute Berlin and at MEDES in France. ESA also cooperated successfully with international partners in these activities, for instance with the Japanese space agency JAXA.
An example of a currently ongoing project is the Women International Space Simulation for Exploration study (WISE), which is co-organised with CNES, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.
ESA now strives to develop a 5-year strategy for future bed rest studies and invites scientists to submit ideas.