In the quest for space travel and eventually colonizing another planet, mice are at the forefront of this new frontier.
I have written before about my own role in sending mice to the International Space Station for muscle wasting studies, but many other research projects using mice are helping keep our astronauts healthier after space travel.
Zero gravity and space radiation have serious health implications for those who travel to the stars, so scientists send mice as subjects for a number of reasons. Mice are small, inexpensive, were specifically bred to have human genes in their genome, are mammals which makes them relevant in humans studies, and have shorter lifespans so the comparison is closer to several years of human data.
The ill effects of space travel can be serious: bone and muscle wasting, skin thinning, infertility, anemia, and damage to the immune system. Withe the help of these furry hero mousetronauts, we can keep our human hero astronauts healthier not only to the ISS, the moon, and someday Mars!