In early December at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two anxious scientists were about to send 20 years of research into orbit.
“I feel like our heart and soul is going up in that thing,” Dr. Emily Germain-Lee told her husband, Dr. Se-Jin Lee, as they waited arm-in-arm for a SpaceX rocket to launch.
A few seconds later the spacecraft took off, transporting some very unusual mice to the International Space Station, where they would spend more than a month in near zero gravity.
Ordinarily, that would cause the animals’ bones to weaken and their muscles to atrophy. But Lee and Germain-Lee, a power couple in the research world, were hoping that wouldn’t happen with these mice.