SpaceX Muscle Launch Explores Secrets of Aging

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SpaceX has been ferrying cargo to the International Space Station since 2012, sending various items — from robot parts and a vegetable garden to genetically engineered mice — aboard its rockets. And while they may sound random, each item serves its own purpose in the critical research being performed at the ISS — including this next one. SpaceX has launched human muscle cells into space in an attempt to explore something that will have applications in space and on earth as well: the effects of aging. A team of scientists at the University of Liverpool has undertaken a research initiative they’re calling the MicroAge study, the main objective of which is to learn why people’s muscles get weaker with age. This phenomenon parallels one that’s been occurring with astronauts: in zero gravity muscles tend to grow weaker as well.

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