Mice In Space ‘Hotel’ For Three Months to Study Osteoporosis

August 31, 2009

Italy (ChattahBox) – A new Italian space mission will use mice to study the effects of bone loss in orbit, it was announced this week.

The mice have been set up in what is being described as a ‘mouse hotel’, with rooms for sleeping, eating, and recreation. The ‘hotel is said to be as comfortable as a well-equipped cage for a pet would be, as the mice will be staying at the International Space Station for three months.

“This is a brand new technology for carrying rodents into space. This will be, by far, the longest period of time that mice have been maintained in the space station environment in an experimental setting,” NASA station programmer, Julie Robinson, was quoted by Space.com.

The six mice have been reported to be in good condition after arriving on the space station on Sunday. The astronauts take care of them, refilling the food and water, and making sure they are comfortable.

The mice are a part of two groups of mice, one on Earth that acts as a control. Half of the six in each group has a special gene to combat osteoporosis, while half do not.

More tests and studies will be run on the space mice when they return to Earth in three months time, 13 of which will be conducted in Italy, and the others which will be conducted in Germany, Japan, Canada, and wider Europe.

The natural of those experiments have not been explained, but Robinson has said that they will study “all the different physiological systems.”


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