HUNDREDS of tiny worms were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) with the help of an Oxfordshire company to understand more about human muscle loss and how to prevent it carried out by.
The experiment, which took place on Thursday, is led by scientists from Nottingham and Exeter University, with hardware designed by the Oxford-based Kayser Space.
The research team aims to determine the causes of muscle changes during spaceflight and find ways to mitigate these biological changes.
Discovering more about muscle loss in space will expand scientists’ understanding of how ageing affects our muscles.
This could lead to more effective therapies and new treatments for muscular dystrophies here.
Science minister Amanda Solloway said: “Experiments in space push the frontiers of knowledge and provide real-life benefits for the rest of us back on Earth.
“It is astonishing to think that sending worms into space could improve our health and help us lead longer lives.
“I am thrilled that UK researchers are leading this effort.”
Kayser Space has developed the hardware for the experiment.
The worms will be housed in culture bags inside 24 matchbox-sized experiment containers, each containing three culture bags.
Once on board the ISS, these containers will be placed into the incubator in the station’s Columbus Module.
The experiment will take place over five to six days.
David Zolesi, Kayser Space managing director, commented on taking part in the experiment: “This launch is the second of a series of three life science payloads developed by Kayser Space to fly to the ISS within three years.
“It is an important achievement that will help Kayser to bolster its position as a leading partner to the UK scientific community for implementing experiments in space.”
The worms share many of the essential biological characteristics of humans and are affected by biological changes in space, including changes to muscle and the ability to use energy.
The research will build on an experiment from 2018 and will test potential therapies for muscle loss during spaceflight.
Dr Bethan Philips, associate professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, said: “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 for everyone.”
This Article firstly Publish on www.oxfordmail.co.uk