Sometime in the not so long time, NASA and other space groups around the world will begin on manned missions deeper into our solar system than our species has ever gone before. It means long journeys and longer stays in microgravity for the astronauts who go into them, and it can pose a problem.
Thanks to the international space station, we know quite a bit about the effects of low gravity on the human body, but NASA wants to learn more. For this purpose, the agency has studied how other species handle low gravity, especially with focus on mice. The results are equally interesting and humorous.
As NASA explains in a new blog post, researchers sent a specially designed mouse habitat module to the International Space Station along with some of the sneaky little rodents. The cabinet allowed researchers to study the mouse's behavior remotely from the earth via video forms, and now we have to enjoy these videos for ourselves.
As you will probably notice in the video, the mice definitely seem uncomfortable at the beginning of the experiment. They float around and push themselves into the small limits of the cage and do their best to find out which way is up but not useful. But it is not long before the mice begin to catch on, adapt themselves remarkably well to their new environment and even use gravity to their advantage when they press around the cage.
That's when things get really wild, with video from day 1
NASA researchers wanted to see whether the mouse would continue to do the same kind of activities as they were doing on Earth. The study showed that the mouse kept much of its routine intact, including self-catering and eating when hungry.
Research like this can help NASA to better prepare for future missions to Mars and beyond by revealing the types of behavioral and biological changes that may occur in mammals exposed to prolonged stay in microgravity. It seems that it also produces some amazing videos.