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Is That A Zucchini In Your Rocket? 7 Samples Of Space Station Science

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Is That A Zucchini In Your Rocket? 7 Samples Of Space Station Science

Mouse sperm that works even after it’s been freeze-dried in space. Two-headed worms that grow back two heads after they’ve been beheaded. Crumbless bread as an interstellar edible. Fish subjected to water weightlessness just because.

The International Space Station is up in the sky, taken for granted, but still a floating laboratory where people mess around with hundreds of different weird science projects. Here are some of the more esoteric endeavors that have ensued.

Those that we know about, anyway.

Bread Without Crumbs Is Like A World Without Sin

Bake in Space’s crumbless bread has been chosen as one of the experiments to be carried out by German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who’s slated to use a heating unit and some special dough when his ISS turn comes up in April 2018. Not only will it allow space travelers to eat bread without zero-gravity crumbs floating into delicate equipment, it’s said to be delicious.

New Scientist revealed the breakthrough in buns last week.

See Also: Billionaires Boast Motels In Space, Reusable Rockets And Big Plans For A Big Plane

Worms With Two Heads Have Double The Brain Power

In research aimed at grafting limbs onto amputees, scientists often work with flatworms, which have a remarkable ability to regenerate. But some worms sent into space came back with two heads, and when both were beheaded, they grew back. Tufts University announced the breakthrough last week. The new heads, incidentally, had new brains.

If applied to humans, the possibilities are endless, if not downright scary. The next step in human evolution?

“As humans transition toward becoming a space-faring species, it is important that we deduce the impact of spaceflight on regenerative health for the sake of medicine and the future of space laboratory research,” said Junji Morokuma, research associate in Levin’s lab and first author on the paper.

Freeze-Dried Sperm For Populating The Cosmos

One day, people may have to flee the Earth. Well, this project may be in its infancy, but there’s an app for that: frozen, freeze-dried sperm that can be thawed out and rehydrated to make beautiful bouncing space babies.

So far, the experiment has been carried out in mice, and it works; Scientists from the University of Yamanashi in Japan sent freeze-dried mouse sperm to the ISS flew it around for (how clever!) nine months, and then used it to make baby mice. Just add water and - voila! - the miracle of birth, just like orange Tang, the astronaut’s drink.

Be Still My Beating Fruit Fly Heart

Earlier this month, Elon Musk’s SpaceX - the delivery boy for the ISS - shuttled 400 fruit flies and 1,200 eggs to the space station to study the impact of weightlessness on the bugs’ cardiovascular systems. Why? Because a fruit fly’s heart beats at the same relative speed as a human’s.

“It’s not as weird as you think,” scientist Karen Ocorr told the New York Times.

In Space, Nobody Can Hear Your Zucchini Scream

And sunflowers and broccoli. The zucchini even has its own NASA blog. The astronaut in charge of the project is called The Gardener.

“Our part of the mission is nearly complete and the new crew will take over for us,” Zucchini wrote. “I am a bit worried about Broccoli, Sunflower, and me. If Gardener leaves, who will take care of us? And what about little Zuc? He is now a big sprout and ready to branch out on his own.”

“Gardener talked about pressing us. I am not sure what that means; this does not sound good.”

See Also: Ten Star-Gazing Startups Seek Trans-Galactic Free Trade Zone

PETA Alert!

Maintaining muscle mass is a necessity for extended space travel, such as trips to Mars or extended stays on the space station working on experiments pertaining to maintaining muscle mass.

Last year, scientists took some zebrafish to space and watched their muscles atrophy in a weightless world, a world without pity.

Human Experimentation

NASA took identical astronaut twins Scott and Mark Kelly, sent one to the ISS for a full year, then brought him back and compared the physical differences that took place.

Ten groups of researchers currently are looking at a wide array of information about Scott Kelly, the spacefaring twin, and the impact on immune response, bone formation and changes (!) in DNA.

So far, scientists have found that spacefaring Scott had several gene mutations that returned to normal in the Earth’s environment, proving, perhaps, that humans are adaptable rascals.

Posted-In: Alexander Gerst Bake in Space ISSBiotech Health Care Travel Top Stories General Best of Benzinga

 

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