Meet the New Space Pioneers: Tiny Worms

They survive and reproduce at space station
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2011 1:10 PM CST

(Newser) – If humans ever manage to colonize Mars or some other far-flung planet, a tiny roundworm may show the way. Scientists sent 4,000 worms (C. elegans for the science-minded) up to the International Space Station, where they managed to not only survive but produce 12 new generations over three months, reports Discovery News. The worms share genetic traits with humans, and the experiment could shed light on how multiple generations of people might survive the rigors of life in space—specifically the ill effects of weightlessness on muscles and the heart, notes the BBC.

story continues below

"We have been able to show that worms can grow and reproduce in space for long enough to reach another planet, and that we can remotely monitor their health," says the study's lead researcher, according to Space.com. "Ultimately, we are now in a position to be able to remotely grow and study an animal on another planet." (Read more space exploration stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.