Illustration for article titled Fruit flies become slightly superpowered in zero gravity

Fruit flies were the very first animals we sent into space, way back in 1947 — yet we're still not done analyzing what happens to them in microgravity. We've known for a while that when in "zero-gravity," flies walk more quickly than they do planetside. The only problem is that we don't know if this is due to the whole gravity thing, or if the flies are reacting to the launch preparation and extreme forces they're hit with on the way up.


Well, now we know: it's definitely about gravity. Researchers from the UK and Spain simulated weightlessness by levitating some flies using a super-strong magnetic field — like the one pictured above, only with a fly instead of a levitated magnet. The researchers found that flies walked faster in null gravity, and then slower in simulated two times normal gravity.


So yes, flies develop small-scale superpowers in space.

Photo by cjk2 (learn to make your own maglev device from his awesome tutorial)

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