Over 700 women have responded in the 10 weeks since then, demonstrating strong interest in the study among potential participants. However, most of the applications are from France, where the WISE study is to take place, and ESA wishes to ensure that women from all over Europe get the chance to participate.
WISE offers European women a unique opportunity to be part of space research and human spaceflight in Europe. This 60-day study is a joint venture between the European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency (CNES), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It will be carried out by MEDES, the French Institute of Medicine and Space Physiology, at its clinical research facility in the Rangueil hospital in Toulouse, France.
WISE will need 24 female test subjects to remain in bed, slightly tilted head down at six degrees below the horizontal, for a total of 60 days. This serves to simulate the physiological effects of an extended period in weightlessness as experienced by astronauts. The study will assess the roles of nutrition and physical exercise in countering the adverse effects of prolonged gravitational unloading during bed-rest.
The 24 test subjects will be divided into three groups, eight in each. One will be the control group, receiving no extra stimulus over the course of the 60-day bed-rest period. The second will be put through an exercise programme while in bed during this time. The third will receive nutritional supplements over the 60 days. For the 21 days prior to the 60-day bed-rest period, the subjects will take part in the collection of baseline data. During the 20 days afterwards they will undergo similar tests for comparison with the baseline