NASA has proven that Rodent Habitat offers the opportunity to conduct significant long-term biological research studies at the ISS. Rodents used for the space experiment even learned to defy weightlessness. ( April Ronca | YouTube )
Earth Mice, sent by NASA to the International Space Station, quickly adapted to space travel. The rodents even learned to defy microgravity.
Space mouses sent to the ISS would do all the things a normal house mouse would do: feeding, cleaning, cuddling and interacting with other mice. However, during the entire experimental space flight, the mice also learned to advance in weightlessness.
These aerospace nails behaviors have been described in detail in a recent study published by the NASA Ames Research Center.
According to the study, a behavioral analysis can show how animals have become accustomed to the environment of space, and how changes in physical activity, feeding, drinking, circadian shifts, and social interactions can alter other experimental measures.
NASA's behavioral study focused on how mouse physiology responds to the body's space flight environment during extensive missions and similarities in response to astronaut crew.
NASA Rodent Center
Scientists sent female mice into space at the age of 16 and 32 weeks, in which the animals spent a total of 37 days in weightlessness – a long-term mission to measure rodents' lifespan.
Their habitat was a cage designed specifically for the experiment that investigated how space and microgravity affect model organisms whose biology resembles human body systems.
Overall, the mice behaved normally at the end of the study in excellent health.
A video showed that on their second day of orbiting, the mice got used to weightlessness during their usual activities. The mice were seen moving like a hindlimb, and they were also hovering at their destination.
These observations indicate that space flight mice adapt easily to the habitat, freely and actively propel their bodies, and use all the space available to them.
One week after launch, some mice showed unique behavior. The younger ones were physically more active than their older counterparts.
As the NASA video shows, the mice ran inside the habitat on the 11th day of their space flight. Her movements were almost like levitation, indicating the weightlessness in space. Their "race-tracking" behavior even evolved into a group activity.
The clip also showed a mouse on the other side, able to eat, while another mouse used its tail to balance and eat food. Another rodent grabbed a cup with his hind paw to balance himself and take care of himself.
"The rodents quickly adapted to their new weightless circumstances, for example, by anchoring themselves to the habitat walls with their hind legs or tails and extending their bodies, this attitude resembling mice on the ground standing on their hind legs, to explore their surroundings, "said April Ronca, a researcher at NASA's Ames Research Center and lead author of the newspaper.
NASA has proven that the Rodent Habitat provides the opportunity to conduct significant biological research studies at the ISS for a long time.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports .
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