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Space Science

Space Worms Live Long and Prosper 78

astroengine writes "A microscopic worm used in experiments on the space station not only seems to enjoy living in a microgravity environment, it also appears to get a lifespan boost. This intriguing discovery was made by University of Nottingham scientists who have flown experiments carrying thousands of tiny Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to low-Earth orbit over the years. It turns out that this little worm has genes that resemble human genes and of particular interest are the ones that govern muscle aging. Seven C. elegans genes usually associated with muscle aging were suppressed when the worms were exposed to a microgravity environment. Also, it appears spaceflight suppresses the accumulation of toxic proteins that normally gets stored inside aging muscle. Could this have implications for understanding how human physiology adapts to space?"
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Space Worms Live Long and Prosper

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  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @07:08PM (#40597515)

    Absent gravity, spider webs are surprisingly symmetrical (a href="http://www.space.com/6142-spider-success-weightless-webs-spun-space.html">Linky).
    Mummichogs [newscientist.com] have been used to study motion sickness in space - they're apparently very adaptable to changing gravitational environments.
    As a matter of physics, flight relies on three things: lift, drag and thrust. In space, you don't need lift and drag (since these two factors depend on gravity), you're left with thrust. As birds don't have vector thrusting, I'd think they'd just flap around in fairly straight lines until they collide with walls.

    As for the ant question, I refer you to the recent broadcast by Kent Brockman:

    "The spacecraft has apparently been taken over - "conqured" if you will - by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves."

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @07:41PM (#40597795) Journal

    Will spiderwebs look the same?

    No. [space.com]

    Does a fish swim differently in a floating body of water?

    Yes, initially, though they appear to figure it out.

    Will a bird adapt to floating without wind?

    Tough to tell. Birds require gravity to swallow, so it'd have to be a really quick flight... [answers.com]

    Will ants be able to place scent trails in mid air?

    Not sure they've ever tried free-floating ants. They had to engineer an ant farm because the ants would have been crushed by dirt during lift-off. [kuriositas.com]

    And that's just after a quick google.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger