I Smell Hoverboards!: Scientists Successfully Float Mice Using Magnetic Fields

September 15, 2009


That's right folks, scientists have successfully hovered mice using nothing but magnetic fields. You read correctly: no black magic this time! (I'm still skeptical)

Scientists working on behalf of NASA built a device to simulate variable levels of gravity. It consists of a superconducting magnet that generates a field powerful enough to levitate the water inside living animals, with a space inside warm enough at room temperature and large enough at 2.6 inches wide (6.6 cm) for tiny creatures to float comfortably in during experiments.

The researchers first levitated a young mouse, just three-week-old and weighing 10 grams. It appeared agitated and disoriented, seemingly trying to hold on to something.

"It actually kicked around and started to spin, and without friction, it could spin faster and faster, and we think that made it even more disoriented," said researcher Yuanming Liu, a physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. They decided to mildly sedate the next mouse they levitated, which seemed content with floating.

I want to float! Remember that time in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie and his alcoholic grandfather drank the Lifting Fizzy Drink and then floated around the bubble room? Yeah, I did that one time when I was tripping. It was awesome. Well, until I swallowed a bubble and got the hiccups. I was hiccuping colors!

Mice Levitated in Lab [yahoonews]

Thanks to Totex, who once made his assistant hover before somebody in the audience yelled, "I can see the wires!" and ruined the illusion.

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