The Living and Simulation Area is a complex testing station that includes 12 individual rooms for study participants. Here, research on various aspects of human physiology including sleep, circadian rhythms, bone and muscle physiology can be conducted under highly controlled conditions. Factors that can be controlled include ambient light, temperature, humidity, oxygen, and nitrogen levels. A state-of-the-art lighting system enables researchers to control ambient light intensities over a wide range as well as alter the spectral composition of the light source such that the effects of different wavelengths can be examined.
Researchers will have the opportunity to study effects of sleep, sleep deprivation and disruption (e.g. by noise), shift work and irregular working hours, which are typical conditions for flight crew and astronauts as well as for humans in many other operational situations on earth. Ambient light as a countermeasure against performance decrements and fatigues and against disruption of the circadian rhythms (e.g. during jetlag) can be studied here. A porthole next to the bed in each room allows for the collection of frequent blood samples around the clock and thus for the assessment of rhythms of hormones and metabolic products. Furthermore, immobilization/bedrest studies can be carried out here to study bone physiology including nutritional effects as well as bone mineral density, bone geometry and bone strength.Clinical studies based on the application of drugs expand the options of application.