When it comes to outer space, it can sometimes feel like there are more questions than answers. That’s why the continuing work of researchers and amateur astronomers alike is so important to everyone here on planet Earth.
This article was originally published on Boredom Therapy
Since it became operational in 1998, the International Space Station has been an important resource for scientists studying space. It allows them to perform longer experiments and get more of a sense of the effects that an extraterrestrial environment can have on the human body.
One of the space station’s latest experiments has yielded some truly surprising results. When a group of researchers sent dozens of flatworms into outer space, they had no idea that it would change them in such a major way.
Researchers at Tufts University recently decided to send a bunch of flatworms where no flatworm had gone before. That’s right: these flatworms and Neil Armstrong have at least one thing in common—they have both been to outer space.
Why flatworms, you ask? They were chosen because researchers wanted to be able to determine the effects that microgravity would have on these slippery little critters and, specifically, their ability to regenerate tissue. Still, their findings produced something no one quite expected…
It might sound strange, but the flatworms that were shipped off to space actually grew a second head! In any other species, growing a second head would be considered an atrocity, but on a flatworm, it is cute as heck. Still, the question remained: why did this happen?
Remember: flatworms were specifically chosen for the project because of their ability to regenerate tissue. The worms that came back with two heads had actually been amputated before they left for their journey. Researchers expected them to simply grow a new tail—not an entirely new head!
But that wasn’t the only thing that the researchers discovered during their 20-month examination of the flatworms! Check out the video below to see what other amazing things they learned from these space worms…
Isn’t it crazy how there is still so much left to learn about space and what effect it can have on different organisms? It really makes you wonder what else space can do to creatures… and how that can help humans in the future.