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… and we’re off!!


And_were_off_blog_photo.pngPhoto of mice experiencing “launch-like” vibrations.

Here is a little update from our trip to the NASA AMES facility in Mountain View, CA; where we practiced our mouse surgeries and ran launch simulations.

The first thing we did at AMES was to perform 105 mouse surgeries with a 12-person team – this was a long day!

Since the mice will be launched into space three days after surgery, we also needed to make sure the mice could withstand the stress of blastoff. So on the third day, the mice were transported to a test facility where they underwent vibrations and high g-forces. Ideally, these would have been done simultaneously, but that is a little impractical. Rather, the mice were placed on a table (shown in the picture) where they were subjected to a high and then low vibration.

Next, the mice were put in a centrifuge and spun around to generate g-forces that equate to about four times what we experience here on earth. Throughout these studies, the mice were monitored by cameras.

Our primary concern was that the shaking and increased g-forces would further injure the surgery leg causing the mice to not be suitable for our study. We are happy to report that our mice passed with flying colors! We feel confident that the mice can be operated upon and launched into space three days later. This will allow us to assess their healing with different treatments in a weightless environment.  

This was a ‘GO’ or ‘NO GO’ milestone for our team, and we are a big ‘GO’ for launch!


Written by Paul 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Carl Pinkham