Mousetronauts in Space: Learning More about Muscles

Last week, several white mice were launched into space and arrived onboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a very important mission.  The crew of twenty female rodents will be involved in physical testing to better understand muscle strength in microgravity.  This important study will help NASA reach new heights by providing them with the insight they need to care for astronauts in space and once they return to earth.  This won’t be the first contribution that mice have made to space travel, either.  A blog post by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) took a closer look at animals in space.

Many different species have helped pave the way for space exploration.  Monkeys, dogs, mice, and rabbits have helped provide researchers with important information and data on everything from G-forces to microgravity.  Fruit flies were the first species launched into space in the 1940’s in order to learn about high-altitude radiation because of their well-understood genomes.  Mice, as FBR discusses, are excellent models to study because of their size, physiology and genetics, and brief lifespan that can simulate almost a decade in orbit.

Animals in space don’t just teach science about life beyond earth’s atmosphere.  Breakthroughs for people on earth in the fields of bone density loss and the immune system have come from space travel with animals.

To learn more about the impact of animal research and space studies, please take a moment to read FBR’s blog post by clicking here.