ESA has reported for a flight into space lichens


26/06/2012

The researchers summarized the results of the experiment on the effect of the open space to the various living organisms.

The experiment, called "Expose-E", was held on board the International Space Station since 2008 on its outer side was attached to the tripod socket, which housed some samples of living organisms, as well as thermometers, ionizing radiation sensors and other measuring devices. Some of the samples were partially protected from cosmic rays, and the latter is completely exposed to outer space. Variation in dose obtained samples was about 70%.

In space, there were bacterial spores Bacillus pumilus and Bacillus subtilis, lichens, plant seeds, simple amino acids. The samples were subjected to the influence of the environment of space for 1.5 years, and in 2009 returned to Earth for analysis. The researchers presented the results public only recently.

In addition to data on the effect of cosmic radiation on plant seeds and bacteria biologists have evidence of the extraordinary vitality of lichens. Organisms that represent a symbiosis between algae and fungi, well experienced travel directly to the space station. After 1.5 years, which were held in orbit, many survived and continued to rise in the world. They were subjected to severe dryness in space and thus fell into a state of suspended animation, but when caught in a favorable environment, the newly resumed livelihoods.

Interestingly, there was resistance to the conditions of space at lichens combined with the insistence of air purity. It is well known among biologists and is even used for indirect control of environmental conditions (in the cities, for example, lichens usually do not survive).

Among the well-known experiments on other record holders for survival in a variety of harsh conditions - it ticks, tardigrades and bacteria, for example, Deinococcus radiodurans.

Investigation of the stability of organisms to space conditions is of practical and fundamental scientific aspect. Hardy organisms can be used to prepare for the colonization of other planets, their research can tell us about the boundaries of life and likely to shed light on the theory of its distribution. In addition, according to representatives of ESA, resistance to direct sunlight lichens are interested in manufacturers of sunscreens.


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