Why and how nasa is sending baby Squids, water bears to International Space Station.

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You know why and how Nasa is sending earth animals to space, water bears and baby Squids to International Space Station with the help of 22nd SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

Nasa is also sending bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, an animal model that is used to study symbiotic relationships between two species.

After successfully figuring out ways to water plants in outer space, Nasa is now all set to send glow-in-the-dark baby squids & about 5,000 tardigrades, also called water bears, to the International Space Station.

The new set of arrivals to the flying laboratory beyond Earth’s orbit will push the envelope on experiments that include studying how water bears tolerate extreme environments, whether microgravity affects symbiotic relationships, & analyzing the formation of kidney stones.

The new arrivals are part of the 22nd SpaceX cargo resupply mission that will liftoff on June 3.

The water animals could prove helpful in designing new strategies and improved protective measures for astronauts as Nasa returns to the Moon and looks at long-duration space travel to Mars.

Study of biological survival

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are known to tolerate environments more extreme than most life forms are able to. They have a common habitat in water & they are a model organism for studying biological survival under extreme conditions on Earth & in space. Nasa in a statement said that researchers have sequenced the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius exemplaris & developed methods for measuring how different environmental conditions affect tardigrade gene expression.

A preflight light micrograph of a typical terrestrial tardigrade of the Milnesium genus seen at 40X magnification.

Studies in microgravity on living organisms could advance the understanding of stress factors affecting humans in space & support the development of countermeasures. Researchers will look to study how tardigrades survive and reproduce in these environments, & whether those biological processes can be replicated in humans or not.

Squids to help tissue development studies.

Apart from water bears, Nasa is also sending bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, an animal model that is used to study symbiotic relationships between two species. Humans rely on microbes to maintain a healthy digestive & immune system, but we do not understand the complex symbiotic system. “The UMAMI experiment uses a glow-in-the-dark bobtail squid to address these important issues in animal health,” Nasa said. The study will help determine whether spaceflight alters the mutually beneficial relationship, which could support the development of protective measures & mitigation to preserve astronaut health on long-duration space missions.

Six iROSA solar arrays in the planned configuration will augment the power drawn from the existing arrays on the International Space Station.

Study of portable ultra-sound

Scientists are also demonstrating the use of portable ultra-sounds in microgravity. The Butterfly IQ Ultra-sound is a flight technology demonstration to test the functionality of novel technology in the spacecraft environment. The usability & autonomous operations of Butterfly IQ Ultra-sound are to be assessed for use in future human exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

Scanning Electron Micrograph images of calcium oxalate micro-crystals generated at the University of Washington & Kidney Research Institute.

Meanwhile, Nasa will also undertake a study on kidney stones after some crew members exhibited increased susceptibility to kidney stones during flight. The Kidney Cells-02 investigation uses a 3D kidney cell model to study the effects of microgravity on the formation of micro-crystals that can lead to kidney stones.

“With this study, we hope to identify biomarkers or ‘signatures’ of cellular changes that occur during the formation of kidney stones,” Nasa quoted principal investigator Ed Kelly as saying.


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