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NASA Scientists Make Mice Float Using Magnets

As part of research on the effects of zero gravity on our biology, scientists working on behalf of NASA have successfully levitated a mouse using magnetic fields.

The gravity-simulating device was built using a superconducting magnet that generates a field powerful enough to float the water inside living animals--at least for a mouse.

A three-week-old mouse, weighing 10 grams, was the first to test the device.

"It actually kicked around and started to spin, and without friction, it could spin faster and faster, and we think that made it even more disoriented," said researcher Yuanming Liu in a LiveScience story.

The scientists decided to give the second test mouse a "mild sedative," which made the subject more content with floating.

Beside it being plain cool to see mice float around, what's the point of all this?

"We're trying to see what kind of physiological impact is due to prolonged microgravity, and also what kind of countermeasures might work against it for astronauts," Liu said. "If we can contribute to the future human exploration of space, that would be very exciting."