BTG “got looped in on a project that’s trying to understand how microgravity impacts bone healing by comparing earth and space station mice”. (My friends are much cooler than me.) She said that most of the mice that go to space are female since the male mice usually kill each other.
I had never heard of that before, but it kind of makes sense along these lines.
That got me searching online and I came across this UCSF article from 2018, Female Mice are Immune to Cognitive Damage from Space Radiation. Which seems even more unexpected and interesting.
HP had two critical followup questions:
- If we’re sending mainly female mice in to space, does this mean that we could end up with a preponderance of female-specific scientific data since male mice don’t tolerate space well? Sort of the opposite of the current problem, that most of our earthbound research is heavily male-oriented?
- Do mice wear little space diapers? Probably not, but how do they control / contain mice excrement since it’s so tiny? You don’t want little droplets and pellets floating around in microgravity.
Answers unclear, input welcome.
(Every time someone in the group chat said “mice in space”, my brain said it like “MICE. IN. SPAAAAAACCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEE.” Where is that opening credits cliché from? I can’t figure it out.)
Edit 25/01/23: Multiple lovely people have been in touch via Mastodon and email suggesting that it’s the Muppets’ Pigs In Space that I’m thinking of. It’s definitely spot on!