September 8, 2020
One thing that we found somewhat surprising is how resilient mice are even when subjected to all of the stresses associated with space travel.
- 40 mice participated in the study, and traveled to the International Space Station on the SpaceX rocket in December. They returned to Earth in January.
- Some of the mice were genetically modified – As the Associated Press describes: “The treatment involves blocking a pair of proteins that typically limit muscle mass.”
- The genetically modified mice returned to Earth with bigger muscles than the others.
- The researchers also administered the treatment to some mice upon landing; those mice also built muscle mass.
- Why It Matters: A major challenge for humans and space travel is loss of muscle mass. Astronauts exercise up to 2 hours a day to prevent the effects. Muscle loss is also a challenge for anyone suffering from a disease that leaves them bedridden, or someone who is paralyzed. The researchers said: “Our hope is that this could be used both for astronauts during extended space travel and for people on Earth suffering from muscle and bone loss. There is still a lot of work that would need to be done in this regard, but we believe that this type of strategy holds promise.”‘Mighty mice’ stay musclebound in space, boon for astronautsHere’s some background on the study and the researchers: Rodents and a rocket carried these researchers’ dreams to space
by Jenna Lee,