If you’re under 55, in good health, and willing to take part in the experiment — you’re eligible.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be on a space station? Even better, ever wondered how it’s like to get paid for it? Well, the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) might just have the thing for you. JAXA is looking for eight volunteers who are willing to be locked away from the outside world with none of their personal belongings.
As part of the mission, subjects will be asked to carry out various tests, during which their stress levels will be measured. Then, after spending the 14 days, they will be remunerated by JAXA with the hefty sum of 380,000 yen ($3,500) for their effort. The tests will be carried out at the Tsukuba Space Center in Japan.
It’s not the first time something like this has been attempted. Over the past few years, NASA has carried out several studies to assess the impact that microgravity has on the human body and the mind. Significant adverse effects of long-term weightlessness include muscle atrophy and deterioration of the skeleton (spaceflight osteopenia). In the long-term, it can also cause cardiovascular issues, a decreased production of red blood cells, balance disorders, eyesight disorders, and a weakening of the immune system. You shouldn’t worry about these unless you’re a seasoned astronaut — two weeks really shouldn’t pose any problems. However, the isolation itself can be daunting.
If that sounds convincing, then head on to the Japan Clinical Volunteer Network application page before noon on Jan 31. It’s all in Japanese, but it doesn’t say that foreigners can’t apply. In fact, for the sake of variability, it might be useful to also include non-Japanese people as well. It’s not mentioned whether travel expenses are covered, though they are probably not.