Specially developed mice from the Maine-based Jackson Laboratory will be heading into space next month.
On its website, the lab says the 40 day mission to the International Space Station aims to help scientists determine the effect of microgravity on the rodents which have been dubbed "Mighty Mice." The animals have been genetically engineered to display increased muscle mass, and they may help NASA researchers find ways to prevent muscle and bone loss in astronauts during long space flights, such as trips to Mars. The lab says the mission may also lead to a better understanding of muscle degeneration in the elderly, or immobile patients.
Among those who will be working with the mighty mice aboard the International Space Station is Maine Astronaut Jessica Meir.