Science is for every age, and we know that already, but the most recent proof for that is a young students’ experiment which became so successful that it was sent to the ISS and got published in the academic journal Gravitational Space Research. The project, carried out by students between grades of 8 and 12 at that time, indicated the importance of sending a can of worms in space to study the zero-gravity effects on muscle degeneration, as reported by the Great Lakes Ledger.
It all started four years ago when the University of Toronto launched a scientific competition between students with the purpose of sending the most successful project to the ISS, the International Space Station.
The young students’ experiment was meant to find out more about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
In the beginning, the whole project was a personal experiment by Annabel Gravely who wanted to find a solution to the lethal disease that killed her grandfather, Lou Gehrig, the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Lou died of a debilitating neural disorder which affects the cells that control the muscular system. The condition is causing paralysis and, eventually, triggers the loss of abilities such as swallowing and breathing, in its final stage.
Annabel started working on this project with a classmate, but their determination has drawn the attention of others. Soon, the experiment was big enough to get Canadian and UK scientists involved.
That set the young students experíment on a rapid growth trend within the University of Toronto’s scientific competition.
Placing a can of worms in space, on the ISS, to study the zero-gravity effects on muscle degeneration
Finally, this project won the scientific competition sponsored by the University of Toronto, and the young student’s experiment was sent to the ISS, the International Space Station, for studying the muscle deterioration process in worms under zero-gravity conditions.
A can of worms was placed in an ISS lab while another box remained in Toronto for a cross-analysis.
At the end of the experiment, the worms placed in space and exposed to zero-gravity presented lower levels of the enzyme associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Also, the “space worms” were longer and thicker than the ones kept on Earth.
The results of the young students’ experiment were published in the Gravitational Space Research academic journal.