Scientists working on behalf of NASA have successfully levitated a mouse using a strong magnetic field. I pay taxes so that stuff like this can happen. I don’t hate animals. It’s for understanding microgravity better, ok?
The effort is part of NASA’s desire to investigate how the human body can cope with long-term low gravity situations, for long stints on the ISS and future trips beyond our own moon. One way to model microgravity is to apply a strong magnetic field that opposes gravity, which repels the water in animals’ bodies and levitates them slightly.
Although mice might initially freak out (understandably–I bet they got some levitating mouse pee, too), they were able to adjust to a levitated lifestyle in about four hours. Scientists have previously levitated frogs and grasshoppers, but a mammal model is more useful for learning about gravity’s effects on humans.
I only wish that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab had a video or a photo from a better angle (yes, I asked). And someday when someone powers up a human-sized version, I want a ride.
[Via Live Science]