While you may be familiar with Laika, the Russian dog that was launched into space in 1957 and became the first animal to orbit the Earth, you probably weren’t aware that space programs are still sending animals into space. That’s right, we are still sending non-human organisms into space, only this time we aren’t paving the way for mankind to go into space but studying organisms’ amazing adaptations in a microgravity lab. You know this lab as the International Space Station or ISS.
Russian and American scientists just can’t let up on testing on animals; in fact, they published a paper in 2011 about snails in microgravity. The paper highlighted snails unique ability to not only be the best little astronauts but their profound skills in balance and motion detection. According to snail-scientists, the little terrestrial slime balls orient themselves to gravity using a unique inner-ear mechanism. A pool of snails was chosen, half were sent to the ISS and the other half stayed on Earth. The astonishing conclusion when the snails were reunited, was that astro-snails responded much more quickly to changes in orientation than Earth-snails. The tiny astronauts had actually adapted their inner-ear to be more sensitive to tiny fluctuations in gravity!
In a similarly-squishy scenario, squids were sent to the ISS aboard the Shuttle Endeavour in the same year. The 3-inch Squidwards have light-producing bacteria that live inside the cavity on the underside of its body. Scientists wanted to study the bioluminescent bacteria and see if this symbiotic bacterial colonization could occur in space. The relationship between the squid and its flashlight-bacteria is surprisingly similar to the beneficial bacteria that live in human immune and digestive systems. These tiny squids may help ensure that future astronauts can survive the trek to Mars.
Here at Dunmore, we are looking to support the life of your fauna in space, our multi-layered insulation films can protect even the squishiest of payloads. (Test tubes and Petri dishes sold separately.)
P.S. Your body houses 10 times more bacteria than cells, and you probably have upwards of 35 trillion cells. In cosmic terms, you have 300 times more bacteria in your body than there are stars in our galaxy.