NASA is preparing to release about 5,000 Tardigrades, adorable ‘water bears’. and 128 glow-in-the-dark octopus into space
The animals are heading to the International Space Station (ISS) next week as part of SpaceX’s 22nd new cargo mission.
SpaceX is set to launch small critters on a Falcon 9 rocket on June 3, 1:29 p.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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Tardigrades are tiny, just 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) long, and earned their famous nickname for their bear-like appearance when viewed through a microscope. And these little ones are not cowardly – able to survive the intense radiation. Six times the pressure found in the deepest parts of the ocean. And the entire vacuum of space makes microscopic animals much stronger than their namesake ursine.
Indeed, Israel̵7;s Beresheet spacecraft carried thousands of dried Tardigrades on board when it crashed into the moon during a failed landing attempt on April 11, 2019.
If any creature can survive the collision Perhaps these creatures Especially when they are in a dehydrated “tank” state where they can revive.
These abilities make tardigrades a useful research organism aboard the ISS, where astronauts hope to identify the specific genes responsible for the tiny animal’s remarkable adaptation to the environment it has. High stress, on the other hand, should give us important insights into the health effects of long-term space travel.
“Some things that Tardigrade can survive are drying, freezing and heating through the boiling point of water. They can survive thousands of times as much radiation as we can. And they can last for days or weeks with little or no time. No oxygen,” said Thomas Boothby, an assistant professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming. and the principal investigator of the experiment said in a press release
“They have been proven to survive and reproduce during space flight. and can survive even when exposed to the vacuum of outer space for long periods of time.”
For Boothby’s study, astronauts examine the molecular biology of water bears. to look for signs of immediate and long-term adaptation to life in low-Earth orbit. This gives space travelers the courage to face zero gravity and increased radiation exposure.
He hoped the information gathered from the creatures would arrive at the station in a semi-freezing state before being thawed. It will provide important insights for future treatments that can protect astronauts’ health during protracted space missions.
A separate and parallel experiment scheduled to be sent by the re-sourcing mission will lead the short-tailed squid (Euprymna scope) go to the station
The 0.12 inch (3 mm) long squid has a special light-producing organ inside its body. The fluorescent bacteria will make the squid glow. The researchers of the experiment hope to examine the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and squid to see how beneficial microbes interact with animal tissues in space.
“Animals, including humans, rely on our microorganisms to maintain healthy digestive and immune systems,” said Jamie Foster, a microbiologist at the University of Florida and principal investigator of the Understanding of Microorganisms to Animal-Microbial Experiments. (UMAMI) said in the statement.
“We don’t fully understand how spacecraft transform these beneficial interactions.”
Squids are born without bacteria. They are obtained from the oceans around them, so the researchers plan to add bacteria to the squid as soon as they thaw at the International Space Station. bacteria
by studying the molecules produced during the process Researchers will be able to determine which genes the cuttlefish turn on and off to achieve success in space. Knowing this will help humans take better care of their gut and immune system microbiomes throughout long-distance space travel.
Although traveling to space can be stressful, tardigrades at least endure worse. Just survived being hit by a high-speed gun.
In such studies Researchers found that tardigrades can withstand impacts at speeds of about 3,000 feet per second (900 meters per second), as previously reported by Live Science.
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