To mark this milestone, Claudie Haigneré, France’s Minister for European Affairs and herself a former ESA astronaut, recently paid them a visit.
No time to rest
The first observation at this stage is that the amount of physical exercise prescribed for the training group was too intense. To prove the point, some slightly painful muscles and tendons obliged the experiment team to curtail certain sessions on the fly wheel and the LBNP. But since then, all the active volunteers seem to have adapted well and are following the training protocol without too much trouble.
Monotonous, unappetizing menus
But leaving food on the plate is not an option, because for comparison purposes the experiment conditions must be the same for the training and control groups. For this reason, an optimal quantity of food was defined for each volunteer. And to help them to digest their daily food ration, the number of snacks between meals was increased to allow them to eat less, but more frequently.
Next week, some recipes will be changed—although still using the same ingredients—to make the weekly menu a little more varied and appetizing.
In a few days, 12 women will be getting to their feet for the first time in 2 months when they complete a long-term bedrest experiment.
In a few months’ time, 12 new volunteers will be taking their places for a second campaign lasting from September to December. The call has already gone out for applications from new recruits.
You can take part in this unique experiment and help to further research on the effects of weightlessness on female astronauts during long spaceflights.
If the idea of spending 100 days feeling what it’s like to be an astronaut appeals to you, find out more about the upcoming campaign and how to apply on the MEDES website.
21 March 2005