JUL 20, 2016 11:53 AM PDT

SpaceX Sent Chernobyl-Based Fungi to the ISS for Testing

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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
APR 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Carbon-Dating Ancient Pottery Just Got Easier
APR 28, 2020
Carbon-Dating Ancient Pottery Just Got Easier
Carbon-dating Pottery Kitchenware Just Got Easier Pottery, especially vessels that our ancestors used to eat and drink w ...
JUN 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
Why Do So Many Animals Have Different Styles of Headgear?
JUN 02, 2020
Why Do So Many Animals Have Different Styles of Headgear?
A substantial number of animals have evolved to have ornate and functional headgear that can help them defend themselves ...
JUL 07, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Anticancer Compound Found in Marine Bacteria
JUL 07, 2020
Anticancer Compound Found in Marine Bacteria
Bacteria live in symbiosis with many animals in the world. These tiny single-celled creatures often play crucial roles i ...
JUL 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
City Bird Droppings Carry Antibiotic Resistant Genes
JUL 15, 2020
City Bird Droppings Carry Antibiotic Resistant Genes
Bird droppings are unsightly and often inconvenient, depending on where they land. They also carry some health risks, an ...
JUL 19, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Genetic Surveys Could Help Save Coral Reefs
JUL 19, 2020
Genetic Surveys Could Help Save Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are a significant source of biodiversity and may support up to 25% of life in the ocean. Corals around the w ...
JUL 23, 2020
Plants & Animals
Sharks Missing from 1/5 of World's Reefs
JUL 23, 2020
Sharks Missing from 1/5 of World's Reefs
Sharks of all sizes are vital to coral reef ecosystems, both as predators and prey. Shark populations have rapidly decli ...
Loading Comments...