If astronauts have to spend more and more time flying to the Moon, Mars and other planets, then scientists must solve the difficult problem of weightlessness that affects the body of living organisms, especially the central nervous system.
On subsequent flights to the Moon or Mars, minimizing the negative impact of microgravity on the body will be critical to ensuring the safety of future astronauts. In a recent experiment, we investigated the protective effect of artificial gravity – Dr. Janani Iyer of the NASA Ames Research Center convinces.
NASA just shared the results of this research. At the moment, not on humans, but on “model organisms”, that is, in this case … fruit flies.
NASA studies artificial gravity on insects
The aforementioned experiments were carried out International Space Station (ISS). There, in a special laboratory unit, the presence of fruit flies was observed. One group remained on Earth, the other in microgravity, and the third in artificial gravity caused by the container’s rotation with them in a centrifuge.
After three weeks on the International Space Station, “space” flies are back on Earth. Both groups have slightly altered metabolism, which are signs of so-called cellular oxidative stress; and negative changes in the nervous system.
Interestingly, flies exposed to artificial gravity did not show more severe symptoms such as oxidative damage, cell death, neuronal loss, and change in glial cell numbers. The bottom line – they tolerated staying in space better.
Why is NASA looking for fruit flies?
Why were these flies subjected to experiments? Humans and those insects in evolutionary evolution share a common history, and their molecular mechanisms are similar to ours. In general – we share up to 75 percent with small insects. disease genes.
Its rapid life cycle (reproduction up to every two weeks) allows you to study how a lack of gravity can affect the body even in several generations. Indicatively – NASA says that three weeks in space for flies equals about 30 years of human life.
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