Zooming around in space might help you live longer, according to researchers who found that a microscopic worm lived longer after spending time above the Earth.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham found that the worm — Caenorhabditis elegans — lived longer. They were looking at the muscle and bone mass loss experienced by astronauts after long jaunts in space when they discovered that spaceflight curbed the buildup of toxins that are found in aging muscle tissue.
During the experiment, the scientists also found that a group of genes are expressed at lower levels during spaceflight. When those genes expressed at lower levels, the scientists found that the worms lived longer.
The research was published Thursday in the online journal Scientific Reports.
Millions of the worms were launched on the Space Shuttle Atlantis, where they joined the team aboard the International Space Station for 11 days.