NASA Will Be Taking 128 Glowing Baby Squid And 5,000 Tardigrades Into Space

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NASA Will Be Taking 128 Glowing Baby Squid And 5,000 Tardigrades Into Space

NASA has stated that it plans to send 5,000 tardigrades and 128 baby squid into space as part of a far-reaching experiment.


Tardigrades are tiny creatures, sometimes known as 'water bears' and are famed for their ability to survive in harsh conditions.


The animals will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) on a rocket launched by Elon Musk's SpaceX firm.


Tardigrades are only 1 millimetre long and have a most bizarre appearance. They are known to be able to survive extremely high levels of radiation, extreme pressure and total vacuums (such as those found in space).


It isn't the first time tardigrades have been sent to space. They were aboard on Israel's Beresheet moon mission which crash landed in 2019.


Thomas Boothby, assistant professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, said:


"Some of the things that tardigrades can survive include being dried out, being frozen and being heated up past the boiling point of water. They can survive thousands of times as much radiation as we can and they can go for days or weeks with little or no oxygen. They've been shown to survive and reproduce during spaceflight, and can even survive prolonged exposure to the vacuum of outer space."


It is hoped that the information learned from these creatures will help human beings survive in space.


The experiment with the bobtail squid, which glow in the dark, is designed to see how bacteria interact with animals in a low-gravity space environment. The scientists also hope to find out which genes the squid turn off when acquiring beneficial bacteria from their surroundings.


Jamie Foster, a microbiologist at the University of Florida, added:


"Animals, including humans, rely on our microbes to maintain a healthy digestive and immune system. We do not fully understand how spaceflight alters these beneficial interactions."


Tardigrades have also been used in some other extreme experiments recently. Just months ago, tardigrades were fired from a gun at roughly 3,000 feet per second (900 meters per second). Amazingly, it was shown that the tiny warriors survived the event.


[h/t: Science alert]


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Thinking Humanity: NASA Will Be Taking 128 Glowing Baby Squid And 5,000 Tardigrades Into Space
NASA Will Be Taking 128 Glowing Baby Squid And 5,000 Tardigrades Into Space
NASA has stated that it plans to send 5,000 tardigrades and 128 baby squid into space as part of a far-reaching experiment. Tardigrades are tiny creat
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