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"rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station

this is a discussion within the Everything Else Community Forum; Call them the "rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station as early as this year. You know, for science. While rodents have flown on space shuttle ...

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Old 08-22-2014, 10:06 AM   #1
 
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"rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station

Call them the "rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station as early as this year. You know, for science.

While rodents have flown on space shuttle flights in the past, those missions have only lasted a week or two. This new rats in space mission, however, could range between 30 and 90 days, depending on the availability of spacecraft like SpaceX's Dragon capsule to ferry them on the roundtrip.

This means there will need to be changes to animal husbandry to keep the rats happy and healthy, said Julie Robinson, NASA's chief scientist for the space station, in a recent press conference. [Animal Pioneers of the Space Age (Photos)]

"This will allow animals to be studied for longer period of time on space station missions," she said, adding that of the 35 or so studies where rats have gone into space, few of them have gone for more than two weeks.

The actual schedule for launching the rats to the space station and returning them back to Earth is not fully figured out yet. A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft typically launches supplies to the space station, then returns cargo to Earth with a water splashdown, spending some time in the ocean before being towed to port. That could potentially be uncomfortable for the rats.

Robinson said that launching rats on for the experiment are preferable to mice, which are smaller and require less food, because rats' neurocognitive functioning is similar to that of humans. Bringing the rodents on board is just one of several ways in which the space station is changing for science.

Plants and fruit flies

Robinson's remarks came during NASA's Destination Station: ISS Science Forum, in May, which showcased science work on the space station in the context of a decadal survey of station program science objectives.

Among the things investigators are pushing for are more life sciences experiments on station, to better understand the effects of microgravity on living organisms.

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Old 08-22-2014, 03:19 PM   #2
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Re: "rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station

Awesome, the worst economy in US History but we can still put rats on the moon!
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:23 PM   #3
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Re: "rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station

I see one escaping and chewing a hole into something unfortunate causing a pressure leak that kills everybody on the station.

Oh come on that's a great idea for a "B" grade movie.

Beuller? Anyone?

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Old 08-25-2014, 02:16 AM   #4
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Re: "rat-stronauts." NASA is drawing up plans to launch a team of rats with the right stuff to the International Space Station

I say send Roddy White, Steve Smith and Can Newton. Also why do whats done before. Send the rocket to the star, that big bright yellow star I see each morning.
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