Worms sent to space to understand how astronauts lose muscle
Thousands of small worms send on a mission into space. They will help scientists to study the process of loss people muscle mass.
Nematode worms have a similar muscle structure to human, explain researchers from Exeter University.
180 days of stay on the ISS astronauts lose about 40% muscle mass.
Pesquisa com vermes pode ajudar a entender mortalidade em humanos: Um grupo de pesquisadores da University College de Londres, no Reino Unido, descobriu, em um experiment in class realizado com o Caenorhabditis elegans, pequeno verme de um milímetro de… https://t.co/dwrQlge7p7 pic.twitter.com/aH7XoIiyii
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The researchers hope that this experiment will help to find solutions also for such problems as muscular dystrophy and diabetes.
Nematode worms Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) — will begin its space mission on the launch site the Kennedy Space center in Florida on November 29. To the ISS, they will fly about 400 km.
Using C. elegans, scientists can study the long-term changes in human physiology. These worms, like people, suffer from loss of muscle mass under similar conditions.
Colleen Dean, a researcher from Exeter University, says that astronauts lose muscle mass in space because of the lack of gravity.
When the astronauts return to Earth, they cannot move around as before, and they have to go through serious rehabilitation programs.Colleen Genisletilmis from Exeter University
“Worms are good “model” for human muscle, we send them into space and look at their changes and the influence of flight on their muscle mass.”
Worms that cannot be seen with the naked eye, will be in small packages with liquid food. On the ISS they will live and breed just about a week.
Before you return the worms to the ground, they will freeze at a temperature of -80C. Upon return, the scientists will analyze their muscle health.
Nematodes regularly sent into space as a payload for research. They even survived the disaster of the space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.