NASA's New Super-Magnet Is So Strong It Could Make Lab Rats Levitate

NASA scientists have created an magnetic field powerful enough to make lab mice levitate, which is a big Where's My Back to the Future Skateboard breakthrough. The only problem is that the mice have to be high as kites too.

Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have created a superconducting magnet that generates enough energy to lift lab rats animals off the floor. While there were experiments with tiny animals like frogs and bugs before, this is the first time they have made a large animal like this fly under these conditions. The magnet pushes the water inside the mice up, making them fly.

The amazing fact is that the JPL magnet works at room temperature (Correction: the space the rat is in is room temp, not the magnet) —not the ultra-cooled down environments typical of these magnets—and it's powerful enough to make these rodents levitate, something that wasn't possible before.

The mice were high in more than one way, though. According to researcher Yuanming Liu, the "first mouse 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." So they gave a mild sedative to the next mouse, who was happy to float. [Live Science via Yahoo News]