NASA sends baby octopuses to the International Space Station
Sylvie Claire / June 3, 2021
According to the BBC, the U.S. space agency (NASA), must send this Thursday more than a hundred baby octopuses and 5,000 microscopic animals to the International Space Station (ISS).
The animals will be sent to the ISS with experimental equipment aboard the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of Space X, the space company of Tesla boss Elon Musk.
The 128 baby octopuses will be used in experiments to study the effects of space travel on microbe-animal interactions. The octopus has an immune system comparable to that of humans. In particular, the experiment will help develop safety measures for astronaut health during long space travel, NASA said.
Animals and humans alike need microbes to have healthy digestive and immune systems. We don't yet fully understand how space travel can positively influence these interactions, says lead researcher Jamie Fortser. The octopuses will help answer these important questions in animal health.
The little animals will be frozen before they return to Earth. They will be accompanied by 5,000 tardigrades (or water bears). Unlike most other life forms, these microscopic animals can survive in the most extreme conditions. They are therefore ideal for observing the reaction of living beings and their adaptation to extreme conditions.