Categories: Science
| On 4 months ago

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon is Carrying Tardigrades and Baby Squid to International Space Station.

By Aswin Kumar

SpaceX’s Falcon 9, launching today, 3 June at 10:59 pm IST (1:29 pm EDT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, onboards a Cargo Dragon Ship.

This mission will be SpaceX’s 22nd resupply mission to ISS and it will be carrying 7,300 pounds of science, research, crew supplies, and hardware along with 5,300 pounds of cargo.

The cargo also includes 5,000 tardigrades dubbed as ‘water bears’, 28 glow-in-the-dark baby squids,Tardigrades, Butterfly IQ Ultrasound and new solar panels into the space which will be used in a science experiment.

Experiments aboard include studying how water bears tolerate space, whether microgravity affects symbiotic relationships, analyzing the formation of kidney stones, and more,” NASA explained in a release.

Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions (UMAMI) investigations done by NASA. Credit: NASA

The most interesting experiment among all these is the Tardigrades, also known as ‘Water bears’ are eight-legged micro-animals about a millimetre in size and can survive under extreme habitat habitat.

Credit: NASA

“Some of the things that tardigrades can survive include being dried out, being frozen and being heated up past the boiling point of water. They can survive thousands of times as much radiation as we can and they can go for days or weeks with little or no oxygen,” Thomas Boothby, assistant professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming and principal investigator for the experiment, separately told a news briefing.


UMAMI principal investigator Jamie Foster said, “Animals, including humans, rely on our microbes to maintain a healthy digestive and immune system. We do not fully understand how space flight alters these beneficial interactions.”

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

“The rationale for conducting this study on the space station is that the microcrystals behave in a manner like what happens in our own kidneys, meaning they stay suspended in the kidney chip tubes and do not sink to the bottom like they do in labs on Earth.”


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Aswin Kumar

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