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he worms were on board when the Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched from Cape Canaveral on Monday
The unexpected astronauts will help experts in human physiology at the University of Nottingham understand more about what triggers the body to build and lose muscle.
The worms are bound for the Japanese Experiment Module ''Kibo'' on the International Space Station (ISS) where they will experience the same weightless conditions which can cause dramatic muscle loss in astronauts.
The Kibo lab makes use of the weightless conditions in orbit for the study of biomedicine and material sciences.
The worms are used by Dr Nathaniel Szewczyk, from the university's Institute of Clinical Research in Derby, to study the signals that control muscle protein degradation.
He uses the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), because they are the perfect substitute for studying long term changes in human physiology – suffering from muscle loss under many of the same conditions that people do.
Anyway, nobody has given a definite answer as to what eventually occurred to the weird inhabitants of the Russian orbital station once it came to rest on the Pacific seabed. The experts merely advised that one should better not try to find the Mir's remains and steer clear from the area where it might be located.