This Thursday, June 3, SpaceX’s 22nd resupply mission to the international space station aims to transport material useful for scientific experiments in space. Luminescent squids and tardigrades will be part of the trip.
Astronauts aboard the ISS will research the resistance of tardigrades in space. Also called “water bears”, these microscopic invertebrates are known to be “indestructible” animals, the most resilient on the planet. For example, they can survive decades without eating or drinking, and withstand extreme temperatures (positive or negative).
“This makes it a model organism for the study of biological survival under extreme conditions on Earth and in space,” explains NASA . Scientists hope that by studying them in space, and observing how they adapt and reproduce in this environment, they will better understand the stressors that affect humans in these conditions, and then develop solutions. .closevolume_offAnother animal species to take to space: Eupryma scolopes , a species of squid living in the Pacific Ocean. It is recognized as a model organism for studying the symbiotic relationships between animals and bacteria, because this small animal lives in symbiosis with a bioluminescent bacterium. NASA explains that the study of this species could provide a better understanding of the interactions between animals and beneficial microbes, and to see if space flights modify this relationship between the host animal and its bacteria. Research that could be used both on Earth and in space .
Other experiments are also planned thanks to the material sent by SpaceX , in particular on ultrasound scans or robotics in microgravity situations, or on cotton production in space.
The international space station is currently inhabited by seven American, Russian and Japanese astronauts and the Frenchman Thomas Pesquet , who will be in charge of this research.