Would you lay in bed for two months for an easy $24,500?

That's what researchers at France's space medical institute are hoping. They're looking for 24 fit and healthy men to spend 60 days lying on their back in bed and will pay them €16,000 (NZ$24,500) for the pleasure.

Why? Because they want to see what happens to the human body when it's completely listless. In other words, a cheap simulation to study the effects of microgravity, a state of virtual weightlessness.

"The idea of this study is to reproduce the weightlessness of the International Space Station," experiment co-ordinator Dr Arnaud Beck told French media outlet 20 Minutes.

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"During the first two weeks, our scientists will do a whole series of tests and measurements on the volunteers. This will be followed by a 60-day period during which they must remain in bed, the head slightly inclined downwards at less than six degrees."

It sounds easy, but would likely be a torturous experience for the volunteers.
They will have to wash, eat, defecate and entertain themselves all while lying down for nearly two months straight.

Researchers will choose 24 candidates who do not smoke, have a body mass index between 22 and 27 and are willing to undergo rigorous training prior to starting the extreme experiment.

As humanity lurches towards the ambitious goal of spending more time in space, and eventually colonising another planet, many space agencies have increased their research on the physical and psychological impact such an eventuality would have on us.

NASA environmentalist Carmel Johnston recently finished a year residing inside a cramped dome with five other scientists in a year-long mission to mimic the conditions of living on Mars.

"As every family knows you don't always get along all the time. We had plenty of arguments during the year," she told news.com.au in February. "Working though that just to figure out how to get along just to get to the next stage was really important."

Fellow NASA scientist Scott Kelly recently returned from a record-breaking year-long stint in space, where he had to exercise more than 700 hours and drink 730 litres of recycled sweat and urine to keep his bones, muscles and heart from deteriorating.

Since his return, scientists have been conducting experiments comparing his DNA and certain health markers to that of his identical twin brother, who stayed on Earth.

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So far, the results have highlighted the serious stress of a long-term life at zero-gravity.