NASA Space Biology-funded researcher Dr. April Ronca, based at NASA ARC, and a team of collaborators from Ames, Novartis, and BioServe have recently published the first detailed behavioral analysis of mice flown in the NASA Rodent Habitat on the International Space Station (ISS). The article, published in Scientific Reports (IF 4.122), describes the results of a study of video images from the Rodent Research-1 mission. The researchers found that flight mice engaged in a full range of species-typical behaviors, including feeding, self-grooming, huddling and social interactions, and remained active and mobile throughout the experiment. In addition, the videos show that younger flight mice developed a distinctive circling or ‘race-tracking’ behavior around the habitat walls, which quickly evolved into a coordinated group activity. This first-of-its-kind behavioral analysis shows that mice housed in the NASA Rodent Hardware System exhibit normal behavior and move about freely in a way similar to astronaut crews in spacecraft - valuable information for interpreting rodent spaceflight data and ensuring translational relevance to human health in space.
Source: Ronca AE, Moyer EL, Talyansky Y, Lowe M, Padmanabhan S, Choi S, Gong C, Cadena SM, Stodieck L, Globus RK. Behavior of mice aboard the International Space Station. Scientific Reports. 2019 Apr 11;9(1):4717.