JUL 20, 2016 11:53 AM PDT

SpaceX Sent Chernobyl-Based Fungi to the ISS for Testing

NASA is about to have the opportunity to test something very interesting in space.
SpaceX sent a resupply capsule to the International Space Station at the beginning of the week, following a separate resupply capsule that blasted off from Kazakhstan over the weekend with additional supplies.
The resupply mission carried up to 5,000 pounds of experiments and other dry supplies that the space crew needs to survive, and it would appear that one of the things astronauts are getting as a part of a new experiment are radiation-loving fungi that have been sourced directly from Chernobyl.

Chernobyl-based fungus was sent to the International Space Station by SpaceX for testing.

For those unaware, Chernobyl is the site of an infamous nuclear power plant meltdown that occurred in 1986. The catastrophe led to the escape of radioactive materials into nature, and has had a lot of long-term effects on the ecology of the region.
Nevertheless, several species of fungi tend to thrive in the area because they actually feed off of the radiation. Now, NASA wants to know how this fungi fares in outer space, where radiation levels are higher than the typical place on Earth. Still, it’s less than Chernobyl, where the meltdown occurred.
NASA is hoping that experimenting with the eight species of radiation-hungry fungi will someday help in developing technology that could help keep astronauts safe from radiation in future deep space missions. These might include trips to Mars in decades to come.
Additionally, scientists are very interested to see what kinds of compounds that the microorganisms produce in space as a result of being struck by the radiation in microgravitational conditions.
This wouldn’t be the first time NASA has played with microbes in space. Earlier this year, microbes that were a part of a space experiment came back to Earth, having landed in a capsule in the Pacific Ocean, for observation.
Scientists found that the effects of microgravity may have actually enabled these specimens to produce different compounds, and that’s why there’s so much excitement in sending these new species of fungi into space, especially since they thrive in radioactive environments.
Will they be of use? We’ll just have to see…
Source: Popular Science

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 20, 2019
Belgian Zoo Welcomes Two Newborn Panda Twins
This past week has been an exceptionally thrilling one for staff at the Belgian Pairi Daiza zoo. A female giant panda there named Hao Hao delivered a coupl...
SEP 20, 2019
SEP 20, 2019
A Food Additive Could Make Your Cat Hypoallergenic
With 10-30% of the population reporting sensitivity to cat dander, you probably know someone with a cat allergy.  That's why scientists at Nestl&e...
SEP 20, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 20, 2019
US forests under threat from non-native pests
A new study published recently in PNAS documents the epidemic of non-native pests that are threatening US forests. According to the study, which concentrat...
SEP 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 20, 2019
Do Japanese Trees Synchronize Pollen Release?
If you experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, and more sneezing or coughing than normal, you’re probably familiar with allergic rhinitis. When allergic...
SEP 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 20, 2019
Invasive Tumbleweed Demonstrates the Advantage of Extra Chromosomes
The massive tumbleweed Salsola ryanii was once thought to be going extinct, but it's growing stronger....
SEP 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 20, 2019
Marijuana Has Possible Transgenerational Effects
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit psychoactive drug in both the United States and Europe, meaning that many parents, or potential parents, are usi...
Loading Comments...