I demand that you watch what these mice do when they’re sent in a cage to outer space, courtesy of NASA and a brand new study. This new study is aiming to gain insight from stying mouse adaptations to microgravity. If you’ve read the book Ender’s Game, you probably already know what you’re about to see.
Usually you only get the floor on which to play – that’s just one surface. Now imagine you’re a friendly little animal, and suddenly your limited space expands in ways you’ve never before imagined. You can play on ALL the surfaces.
And perhaps more importantly (for the purposes of our viewing pleasure), you can RUN on all the surfaces. Watch as the entirety of the living space becomes the mouse wheel. Watch as microgravity becomes a mouse’s BEST FRIEND.
Folks at NASA’s Ames Research Center responsible for the study showed that the younger mice of the bunch seemed more active in microgravity than they did back on Earth. The same group are shown in the video above, exhibiting a behavior researchers describe as “race-tracking.”
It started with a mouse or two, and eventually became a group event. It’s like the video game lemmings, but for FUN.
You know what this reminds me of? The SPHERE OF DEATH they use at the circus, with motorcycles, and the gravity-defying action. Below you’ll see the Most Motorcycles in a Sphere of Death, as presented by Guinness World Records – just so you know of what I speak.
Back in space, this behavioral study of mice used a Rodent Habitat module that looks shockingly like a standard desktop PC turned on its side. The study took place over the course of 37 days in microgravity. For a mouse, that’s a relatively long time.
If we’re looking at general lifespan of a mouse vs a human, two mouse years is approximately 70 human years. So these mice were up there for 1/24th of their entire life, or around 14 years (if we convert directly to human years).
The mice were treated well the whole trip long, and showed “about the same” weight before and after the mission. Their coats were also apparently in “excellent condition” throughout. You can learn more about the study at NASA right now.