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Worms Survive Months In Space

NOTTINGHAM, England, Nov. 30 (UPI) — British researchers say a colony of worms that survived a trip into space is providing insight into the biological effects of deep space missions.

In December 2006, a team of scientists led by Nathaniel Szewczyk of the University of Nottingham in England sent 4,000 microscopic worms, known as C. elegans, into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. They successfully monitored the effect of low Earth orbit on 12 generations of the worms during the first three months of their six month voyage on board the International Space Station.

“We have been able to show that worms can grow and reproduce in space for long enough to reach another planet and that we can remotely monitor their health,” Szewczyk said in a university release. “Ultimately, we are now in a position to be able to remotely grow and study an animal on another planet.”

The research was published Wednesday in Interface, a journal of The Royal Society.

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