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20 Mice Hitch A Ride Into Space

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Laboratory mice.

SpaceX is set to launch a capsuled filled with supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station, including 20 lab mice.

Florida State University researcher Michael Delp wants to solve some biological problems astronauts face in space. To do that, he’s sending the group of mice to the station. For nearly a month, the mice will live in micro-gravity.

“The research is really geared to address several biomedical issues that face astronauts with long-duration space flight,” Delp says.

Those issues include bone and muscle deterioration as well as fluid pressure changes in the brain that impair space-travelers’ vision.

The mice will be returned to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific ocean next month. The Navy will pick up the furry test subjects and transport them to Loma Linda University in California. Then, they’ll be examined to see just how microgravity affected their physiology.

The supply mission is part of NASA’s commercial cargo program, paying private companies like SpaceX to ship materials to the space station.