The “Mighty Mice” Mission is a Success: What Should You Know

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Mutant mice spent a short period at the International Space Station and returned with ripped bodybuilder physiques. 

A team of researchers led by Dr. Se-Jin Lee of the Jackson Laboratory in Connecticut enrolled in a daring mission, 40 young female mice to the ISS back in December last year, aboard a SpaceX rocket.

The team hopes the findings will hold a promise for preventing bone and muscle loss in astronauts on long space flights like Mars missions, but for people on Earth, too. Here is what you need to know.

The “Mighty Mice” Mission Explained

A team of researchers sent 40 mice to the ISS to develop a new study for preventing muscle and bone loss. Their findings are genuinely incredible.

A SpaceX capsule returned with all 40 mice in good condition, landing into the Pacific off the California coast at the beginning of the year. Some of the “normal mice” were injected with the so-called “mighty-mice” drug after returning. The mice quickly built up more muscle than the untreated ones, according to the team. 

Twenty-four regular untreated mice lost considerable bone and muscle mass in weightlessness as anticipated, up to 18 %. But, eight of them received “mighty mouse” treatment in space and returned to Earth with bigger muscles. The method utilized involves blocking a pair of proteins that typically limit muscle mass. 

While the researchers were encouraged for their work and findings, they stated that much more work needs to be done before testing the medication on people to build up bone and muscle, without adverse side effects. Dr. Emily Germain-Lee of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said: “We’re years away. But that’s how everything is when you go from mouse to human studies.”

Three NASA astronauts, Christina Koch, Jessica Meir, and Andrew Morgan, looked after the mice, doing the necessary body scans and injections. 

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