Microscopic worm could hold clues to Mars colonization. Colonize Mars with worms before people come.
The experiment began in 2006 when the Space Shuttle Discovery transported a population of 4,000 C. elegans to the International Space Station where, over three months, twelve generations of the nematodes successfully reproduced in low Earth orbit, their well-being remotely monitored
many of the biological changes that happen during spaceflight affect astronauts and worms and in the same way. We have been able to show that worms can grow and reproduce in space for long enough to reach another planet and that we can remotely monitor their health.
As a result C. elegans is a cost effective option for discovering and studying the biological effects of deep space missions.
Ultimately, we are now in a position to be able to remotely grow and study an animal on another planet.”
In 1998 this worm became the first multicellular organism to have its entire genome sequenced.
This found that 2,000 of its 20,000 genes pertain to muscle function, and it’s understood that 50 to 60 percent of these have counterparts in humans.