Baby squid and tardigrades are heading to space
27 September 2022
“Water bears” and baby squids are about to take off into space.
No, we are not starting an aquarium in space. These animals will join a crew of astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
SpaceX is organized to establish its 22nd cargo resupply mission to the space station on June 3 at 1:29 p.m. ET. The spacecraft will carry cargo, scientific research experiments, and technology demonstrations. It will also carry new solar panels that astronauts will install outside the space station during a spacewalk in June.
A valuable cargo of about 5,000 tardigrades and 128 baby squids will arrive at the ISS. These two will participate in experiments on the ISS. First, they will investigate the environment the water bears can withstand. They also want to know if the lack of gravity will affect the symbiotic relationship between the squid and beneficial microbes.
Other experiments heading to the station include portable ultrasound, remote manipulation of a robotic arm using virtual reality, analyzing how kidney stones form in space, studying the oral microbiome (what’s in your mouth), and producing more stress-resistant cotton.
The space position is an orbiting laboratory where hundreds of scientific experiments are conducted daily. Astronauts supervise these experiments and report their observations to researchers on the ground. These studies are conducted to a better understanding of life in zero gravity and to discover advantages that can be applied on Earth.
Under the microscope, the tiny tardigrades look like water tardigrades. Although tardigrades are often found in water and even appear as antagonists in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” they are known to survive and even thrive in the harshest of environments.
Tardigrades are a group of micro animals renowned for their ability to survive many extreme stresses,” Thomas Boothby, deputy professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming and principal investigator of the Cell Science-04 tardigrade experiment, said at a press conference Wednesday.