"NASA will pay you $100,000 to stay in bed for 60 days!"

Bloggers on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 in a blog post

Don’t believe that NASA will pay you $100,000 to stay in bed

NASA bed rest studies required test subjects to lie down for weeks at a time. (NASA photo)

Have you ever dreamed of getting paid just for being a couch potato all day?

A misleading blog post is claiming, "NASA will pay you $100,000 to stay in bed for 60 days!"

Is that offer too good to be true?

For the most part, it is.

This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The post, which is on the website World Facts FTW, claims that NASA wants volunteers to participate in "bed rest studies," as it wants to "study how the body reacts to extended periods of rest for astronauts who are going on extended periods of space travel."

As a reward for making it through 60 days of staying in bed and enduring bone, muscle and heart tests, volunteers get a large amount of cash, the post claims.

We wanted to know if this stellar offer was truly up for grabs. We found out that NASA has paid people to stay in bed for long periods of time before. But there’s a pretty large error with the blog post’s headline.

We began by reverse-image searching many of the photos on the website, which were not credited, using RevEye. (RevEye is a image search engine that allows you to search the internet for all the webpages an image appears on.)

Some images were lifted from a Vice article titled "How I Felt After 70 Days of Lying in Bed for Science." In that article, a volunteer named Andrew Iwanicki reflects on his experience lying down at a negative 6-degree angle for 10 weeks, and mentions that he was paid $18,000 by NASA.  

A number of other news sources corroborate Iwanicki’s story, and a page on NASA’s website tells readers about how bed rest studies help scientists "understand the effects of living in space."

But those news outlets reported that NASA paid volunteers $18,000 to participate in a bed study — a far cry from the $100,000 mentioned in the blog post. We found no evidence to support the claim that NASA paid, or will pay, its volunteers $100,000.

The blog post’s headline is also misleading, since it doesn’t consider how difficult it is to participate in a bed rest study, given the high number of applicants and low number of participants required.

In the Vice article, Iwanicki reports that he was one of 55 participants selected out of 25,000 applicants. Given that NASA’s bed studies occur infrequently—the previous one concluded in November 2017 and the next one will start in fall 2018—it seems likely that they would need a small number of volunteers.  

A Lexis search did not return any results of NASA paying people $100,000 to participate in a bed rest study, and NASA could not be reached for comment.

We attempted to contact World Facts FTW, the website the blog post was on, by using this contact form, but received an error message after we clicked "send." We also could not find a Twitter or Facebook page through which to contact World Facts FTW.

This isn’t the first time that NASA’s bed rest studies have inspired misinformation. We previously debunked a version of the tale that claimed NASA was paying volunteers to lay in bed and smoke weed.

Our ruling

A recent blog post claims "NASA will pay you $100,000 to stay in bed for 60 days!"

NASA does have a program that pays volunteers to participate in bed rest studies, where one lies down for a long period of time. The point is to allow scientists to understand how the body might be affected by space travel.

But the blog post grossly exaggerates the amount of money one would receive for such a task. In the past, rather than being paid $100,000 for 60 days of lying down, volunteers have been paid $18,000 for 70 days of their time.

We rate this statement False.

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"NASA will pay you $100,000 to stay in bed for 60 days!"
Sunday, September 3, 2017