For science, squid on its way to the International Space Station

The supply rocket also carries a tardigrade, which will be studied by scientists from the ISS.

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A SpaceX rocket flew to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, June 3, carrying enough on board to conduct a full range of scientific experiments, including a surprising passenger: squid. The spacecraft, whose services have been hired by NASA, was launched from Florida and is due to dock with the ISS on Saturday.

Young specimens of a species of squid (Euprymna scolops) are taken on excursions for the purpose of studying the effect of weightlessness on the interactions between bacteria and their hosts. Some of these animals will actually, once on board the ISS, come into contact with bacteria. Some will be retained. After 12 hours all would be frozen until they were returned to Earth, where they would be studied.

The experiment could thus help develop techniques to protect the health of astronauts participating in long-term missions in space in the future. Also aboard a SpaceX rocket: tardigrades, nicknamed water bears, microscopic creatures known for their resistance. Scientists want to study how they adapt in space. In total, the resupply mission carried more than 3,000 kg of scientific cargo.

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