NASA is going to take squid to space on a mission that might remind you of the hit HBO series Watchmen. The space agency has decided to send 5,000 tardigrades or water bears and 128 glow-in-the-dark baby squids to the International Space Station (ISS) this month to conduct research. They are part of the cargo SpaceX will launch aboard its Falcon 9 rocket. Researchers want to understand how water bears tolerate the stressful environment in space and whether the lack of gravity affects symbiotic relationships – the mutual coexistence. dependent – between squid and beneficial microbes.
In one of the episodes, Watchmen (Review) explores what life would be like under an alien squid attack. In one declaration, NASA said water bears, tiny creatures that tolerate more extreme environments than most life forms, are a model organism for studying biological survival under extreme conditions. The findings could help better understand the stressors affecting humans in space.
The ISS has been in space since 1998. Essentially a large spacecraft and a floating laboratory, it allows astronauts to stay in space for weeks or months to perform microgravity experiments.
“One of the things we really want to do is understand how tardigrades survive and reproduce in these environments and if we can learn anything about the tricks they use and adapt them to protect astronauts, ”the researcher said. Principal Thomas Boothby.
Animals, including humans, depend on microbes to maintain healthy digestive and immune systems, but it’s not clear how spaceflight affects these beneficial interactions. Experiments with squid will help scientists understand whether space alters the symbiotic relationship between squid and the bacteria Vibrio fischeri. This will be done as part of the UMAMI experiment, which stands for Understanding Microgravity on Animal Microbe Interactions.
The Falcon 9 rocket will take off for the 22nd cargo refueling mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3. The SpaceX refueling mission will also carry new solar panels that will be installed outside the space station by astronauts on a walk in space. Other experiments heading to the ISS include a portable ultrasound and an analysis of kidney stone formation in space.