NASA has parceled a number of payloads and missions to the International Space Station since last few years. The space agency recently ferried mice into space in order to determine the impact of microgravity environments. Uniquely, the rodent astronauts are helping humans to explore the Red Planet. The day is not distant when NASA and other space agencies will start initiating crewed missions deeper into the solar system. At the moment humankind has very little knowledge about the impact of low gravity on the human body. It seems like, NASA wants to know more about it. The space agency has studied how other species deal with zero gravity, particularly rodents, to gain in-depth knowledge.
Although, the results are quite amazing and entertaining. According to NASA’s blog post, scientists sent a specially engineered mouse habitat module to the orbiting lab along with some mouse. They selected rodents for the experiment due to biological similarities between human and mice. After the mice reached the ISS, scientists noticed the difference between their behavior and those on Earth. Surprisingly, at space mice continued to act normal. The species adjusted itself in the new weightless environment, even engaged in performing typical mouse behaviors. Mice groomed, fed and interacted with each other in the space. As per NASA’s blog, at the beginning mice took some time to adjust according to the new weightless surroundings.
The video released by the space agency reveals many of the creatures floating without any direction up and around the cage. After some time, mouse discovered and showed a different behavior that was missing in mice on Earth. Scientists call the new action as race-tracking, which means running laps around the walls of the cage. The space agency also highlighted that strange behavior might be associated with stress. But it could help scientists to know the impacts of less gravity on bones. The leading author of the study, April Ronca, the research is shedding light and has hints for the human space journey. At the end of the mission, the mice returned safely to Earth. NASA reports the mice are in good condition and weigh as much as those on Earth.