A microscopic worm may offer clues to how humans will cope with long-term space exploration.
New research shows that in space, C. elegans develop from egg to adulthood and produces progeny exactly how they do on earth, making the worms an ideal and cost-effective experimental system to investigate the effects of long-duration space travel.
“While it may seem surprising, many of the biological changes that happen during spaceflight affect astronauts and worms and in the same way. 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 Nathaniel Szewczyk of the University of Nottingham.
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Photo credit: Heiti Paves / Wikimedia Commons (top) / Nathaniel Szewczyk