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 05, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 05, 2018
Bigger Birds Dominate Food Sources, Study Finds
Setting out bird feeders stocked with fresh seeds is a common practice among bird lovers and nature appreciators. But would you actually be doing local bir...
OCT 03, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 03, 2018
Groundcherries May be Coming Soon to a Market Near You
You may not have heard of the groundcherry, but scientists are eager to get people to try the newly-modified exotic fruit....
OCT 16, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 16, 2018
Reintroduction of Wolves to Yellowstone National Park Yielded Positive Impact, Study Shows
Something incredible has been happening at Yellowstone National Park since the introduction of wolves there in 1995, and a new study published this week in...
OCT 19, 2018
Videos
OCT 19, 2018
Latin American Coffee Harvests Threatened by Fungus
A fungus called hemileia vastatrix causes a serious plant disease called coffee leaf rust....
OCT 22, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 22, 2018
Giant Pandas Discern Potential Mates From Their Calls, But Bamboo Forests Don't Help
Many of the world’s wild animals use mating calls to announce their readiness to mate and to find other specimens to hook up with, but curious resear...
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Steaks Aren't the Only Things We Get From Cows
It’s no secret that cows are routinely slaughtered for beef, but what if we told you that only about 60% of the cow gets harvested for food? Fret not...
Loading Comments...