Wonderful Engineering

New NASA Video Shows Mice In Microgravity Aboard ISS

A video has been released by NASA recently showing that humans are not the only ones who enjoy weightlessness. The video shows adorable mice in microgravity having the time of their lives. NASA sent a bunch of mice to the ISS as part of the research into how biological systems adapt to microgravity.

A special habitat module was created for these mice and monitored to observe how these mice coped with weightlessness. It turned out to be too cute! The video shows that after the initial few days during which the mice adjusted to the feeling of weightlessness, they were quick to adapt and began to exhibit the mouse-like behaviors that are characteristic of them here on Earth.

April Ronca who is a researcher at NASA”s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley (California) and also the lead author of the paper that has been published in Scientific Reports on 11th April said, ‘Behavior is a remarkable representation of the biology of the whole organism. It informs us about overall health and brain function.’

The experiment was carried out for a total of 37 days. 37 days are equivalent to a long-duration mission in terms of the lifespan of mice. All of the mice in the experiment were females ranging between young and old. These mice groomed themselves, ate food, socialized, and huddled together; all normal behaviors that they perform on Earth as well. Their weights didn’t change, and their coats were in pristine condition when they came back to Earth.

An important thing to note is that these mice were able to adapt to their habitat and came up with new moves that mimicked the behaviors that have been seen on Earth including making use of their tails or hind legs for securing themselves while they extended their bodies for exploring. This is an iteration of how they stand upright on their hind legs for looking around at their surroundings on Earth.

A unique thing that these mice did was to run laps around the sides of the cages. Something that is impossible to do on Earth on account of gravity. Scientists have yet not been able to identify what triggered this response. However, since the mice are in good health after returning to Earth; scientists are sure that it wasn’t because of any discomfort or stress.

Check out their video below and enjoy their cuteness in microgravity!