Stress kills off mice on space mission

2013-05-19 21:29

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - A number of mice and eight gerbils sent into space in a Russian capsule destined to find out how well organisms can withstand extended flights perished during their journey, scientists said on Sunday as the month-long mission touched back down on earth.

Most of the 45 mice sent into orbit - along with the gerbils and 15 newts - died on the mission, which nevertheless returned with data that scientists hope will pave the way for a manned flight to Mars.

The animals on board the Bion-M craft died because of equipment failure or due to the stresses of space, scientists said.

The craft itself landed softly early on Sunday with the help of a special parachute system in the Orenburg region about 1 200km southeast of Moscow.

It was also carrying snails, a number of plants and microflora.

"This is the first time that animals have been put in space on their own for so long," Vladimir Sychov of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced upon the peculiar crew's return to earth.

But at the end of the experiment, "less than half of the mice made it - but that was to be expected", Sychov told Russian news agencies.

"Unfortunately, because of equipment failure, we lost all the gerbils."

The TsSKB-Progress space research centre's department head, Valery Abrashkin, said on the day the mission took off in April that the study was aimed at determining how bodies adapt to weightlessness "so that our organisms survive extended flights".

The capsule spun 575km above earth.

The space adventure has been widely praised by Russian state media as a unique experiment that no other country has yet pulled off.

Russia last sent mice into space in 2007 for a much shorter duration of 12 days.

France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) space centre said 15 of the 45 mice came from a French research lab that is co-operating with the study.


Read more on:    russia  |  space  |  research

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.