ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

Ethology…in…space…

Ronca, A.E. et al. Sci Rep 9, 4717 (2019)

Cohorts of mice have regularly joined astronauts on the International Space Station since the first NASA Rodent Research Mission launched in 2014. They inhabit specially designed cages and, like their human counterparts, must adjust to the effects of microgravity—that’s why they’re there in the first place. The cages are filmed primarily to keep an eye on the health of the mousetronauts during their weeks in space, but the recordings also offer insight into how the mice adapt. NASA scientists recently described mouse behavior in microgravity in Scientific Reports. The mice generally acted like mice: they moved around; they groomed; they ate; they even latched their hind legs and tails on to the habitat grates and stretched in a way that resembled hindlimb rearing. Younger mice also took to racing in circles, for reasons still unknown.

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Correspondence to Ellen P. Neff.

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Neff, E.P. Ethology…in…space…. Lab Anim 48, 164 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41684-019-0321-y

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