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No, Nasa not paying people to smoke weed in bed for 70 days

A screenshot of an article shared on Instagram makes a surprising claim about the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or Nasa

“Nasa Will Pay You 18,000 USD To Stay In Bed And Smoke Weed For 70 Straight Days,” the headline reads. The article is credited to someone called “David Vanallen”.

Is Nasa paying people generously to lie around and smoke marijuana? We investigated.

Rumour doing the rounds for years

The screenshot has been circulating on social media since at least 2016, but there is little truth to it. 

We couldn’t find the original article, or any reliable mention of a journalist named “David Vanallen”.

US fact-checking organisation Fact Check traced the origin of the story to an article by Andrew Iwanicki, published by Vice magazine in 2014. It’s headlined: “NASA Is Paying Me $18,000 to Lie in Bed for Three Months.” 

After losing his job, Iwanicki signed up for a Nasa bed-rest study, in which he had to lie in bed for 10 weeks, or 70 days.

“The study, CFT 70 (Countermeasure and Functional Testing in Head-Down Tilt Bed Rest Study) is part of a three-year effort to learn about bone and muscle atrophy in space,” he writes. “Everyday tasks like showering, shitting, and sleeping comfortably become nearly impossible when you're lying down all day.”

But Iwanicki makes no mention of marijuana.

Nasa pays study volunteers

Nasa’s bed-rest studies are used “to see how the body adapts to weightlessness” by having volunteers “spend up to 70 days in bed with a six-degree head-down tilt”.

They also study the effects “of fluid shifts in participants' bodies, as well as bone and muscle loss often experienced in weightlessness”. 

The studies attempt to recreate the conditions astronauts would encounter in space.

Various news sources have reported that Nasa pays volunteers to take part in the studies. But they too do not mention marijuana.

No weed in study, Nasa says

Nasa has specific guidelines for study participants, which include that they will be “screened for the use of drugs, alcohol, and nicotine during the selection procedure”.

The guidelines state that people who use drugs or abuse alcohol will not be allowed to take part in studies.

Nasa also told Fact Check that participants “were not allowed to smoke marijuana or drink alcohol”. – Taryn Willows


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