A while back I blogged on the folly of NASA’s Moon-Mars program, and how it’s killing real science the agency could be doing. Yesterday I received an email from NASA alerting me to a new funding opportunity:

This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Announcement (NRA) solicits research proposals to conduct studies utilizing rodents flown onboard the Russian Bion-M1 spacecraft. The Bion-M1 mission will launch an unmanned automated spacecraft carrying a biological payload into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Launch will occur at Baikonur, Kazahkstan in September 2010. The rodents on the Bion-M1 spacecraft will be exposed to spaceflight conditions for approximately one month, approximately 50% longer than any previous flight with rodents.

Well, I take back everything I said before. Clearly, NASA is showing its commitment to doing really relevant research.

And talk about inspiring! This mission pushes back the frontiers of rat spaceflight by sending rats into low Earth orbit for an amazing ten days longer than previous missions. I can’t even begin to imagine the high-tech spin-offs that will come out of this: rat-friendly velcro, cheese-flavored tang, rat-sized MRI machines …

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

And who cares about launching another satellite to study the Earth’s climate? Who needs that? Or sending a robot to a moon of Jupiter or Saturn … yawn. When I think of “to boldly go,” I think of rats in space.

Michael Griffin: Once again you prove that five masters degrees make you a genius!

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!