Squids and Tardigrades into Space?
By Kevin Bao
On June 5th, 2021, astronauts on the International Space Station welcomed 128 baby bobtail squids and 5,000 microscopic tardigrades. They were among parts of the 22nd cargo delivery by SpaceX. They hope that these animals can further tell how space travel affects the Human Body. This can help humans make space travel in the future safer than it is right now. Bobtail squids will allow scientists further understand the effect of microgravity in the human body during space travel.
The astronauts on the ISS have added bioluminescent bacteria to the squids so that when a molecule changes part of the squid will light up in space. This will help researchers learn more about how space flight changes the relationship between cephalopods and microbes. The research in these will help many microbiologists like Jamie Foster who also said this about the effects of spaceflight. "We do not fully understand how spaceflight alters these beneficial interactions," said Foster.
Next, the Tardigrades have been on earth for over 0.5 billion years. They can survive extreme heat and freezing temperatures. They also can survive in extreme radiation and high pressure. No wonder NASA sent these little creatures up to the space station! Scientists want to know what genes allow these tiny creatures to live so long. Learning from these creatures will later help on longer missions through outer space. All in all, these creatures are a phenomenal tool to help further explore space.