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University worms arrive in US ahead of space study

Janine Jansen

BBC Spotlight

Thirty-six thousand worms grown at the University of Exeter are about to take part in the first UK-led experiment to the International Space Station.

The creatures have arrived at the Kennedy Space Centre in America and are getting ready to blast off in a rocket early in December.

The scientists - behind the £2m project to study muscle wastage are leaving for Florida later - and say nematodes are being used because they have a similar muscle structure to humans.

Astronauts lose about 40% of muscle mass after 180 days while onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Researchers hope the research could help people with conditions including muscular dystrophy and diabetes.

Map of the world and a spaceship
BBC

Worm facts:

  • The worms are a nematode species called Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans)
  • They will blast off in a rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, on 4 December
  • They will travel 250 miles (402km) to the International Space Station (ISS)
  • The worms will spend a week in an incubator where they will multiply
  • When they die, they will be frozen at -80C (-112F) and returned to Earth
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Projected for Trump

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29 electoral votes

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2 seats, 1 up for election

Republican senator Marco Rubio – beaten by Donald Trump in the party’s presidential nomination race – has been re-elected over his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy. Florida’s uncontested seat is held by Democrat Bill Nelson.

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Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

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