UoN scientists launch worms into space

They’re going to the International Space Centre

Thousands of tiny worms are being launched into space for research at the universities of Nottingham and Exeter as part of a mission to understand muscle loss.

The researchers are trying to determine the causes of muscle changes during spaceflight, according to UoN.

There is also hope their work will help to develop new treatments for muscular dystrophy.

The worms were launched June 3rd from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

Following arrival at the International Space Station (ISS), the worms were placed in an incubator. They will be held for five or six days before being frozen and returned to earth for study.

Previous studies from the research team showed that these tiny worms, C. elegans, experience similar molecular changes in space to humans.

Dr Bethan Philips, Associate Professor of Clinical, Metabolic and Molecular Physiology at UoN, said: “Since the dawn of the space age, there have been concerns that space travel can be harmful to astronauts.

“We are very excited that this latest mission will enable us to build on the work we have already done to not only further explore what causes muscle loss with spaceflight, but to also look at how to prevent it.

“This work will have implications not only for astronauts but also for many situations on Earth.”