NASA and SpaceX send illuminated squid and water bears into space

Published:

May 28, 2021 00:00 GMT

Scientists will study both types in an effort to use their coping mechanisms to help astronauts.

In the next few days, SpaceX send me To the International Space Station on its twenty-second commercial mission to resupply cargo from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The launch is scheduled to take place on June 3, this time squid and tardigrades from Hawaii, known as water bears, will head into space.

Scientists plan to study their behavior in space and the chemical and molecular interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts. For that last task, they’ll notice Hawaiian squid (‘Euprymna scolopes’), which glow in the dark thanks to bioluminescent bacteria.

The research will help determine whether spaceflight will change that mutually beneficial relationship and better understand the complex interactions between animals and microbes, including the new pathways that microbes use to communicate with animal tissues.

It is believed that this knowledge will allow the development of methods for protecting and strengthening these relationships, thus contributing to the development of new protection and mitigation measures Maintaining the health of the astronauts During long-term space missions. The scientific community can also use the results of research to improve human health and well-being on Earth.

“Animals, including humans, depend on their microbes to maintain a healthy digestive and immune system,” said researcher Jimmy Foster, who is leading the study of Microgravity in Microbial Interactions in Animals (UMAMI) in English. “We don’t fully understand how spaceflight alters these beneficial interactions,” he added.

Thousands of creatures

For their part, the other members of the space mission, and Tardigrades – The most resistant microorganisms on Earth in extreme conditions – ideal for studying adaptive mechanisms to survive in space, and can contribute to a better understanding of the stresses affecting humans in space and thus help find ways to combat them.

“One of the things we care about a lot is understanding how tardigrades survive and reproduce in these environments and whether we can learn something about the tricks they use and adapt them to protect astronauts,” said lead researcher Thomas Boothby.

As detailed CNNFor these experiments, they’ll send about 5,000 water bears and 128 glowing Hawaiian squid into space.

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