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NASA Sending Squid from Hawaii into Space for Research

by Madison Miller
Photo by: David Fleetham/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One lucky squid is about to be out of this world.

For the first time, NASA is sending a squid safely into space in order to conduct research.

It’s no ordinary squid, either. This Hawaiian bobtail squid was raised at the University of Hawaii’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory. As you read this, that little squid is floating around in a spaceship. It left Earth on a SpaceX resupply mission earlier this month. It’s currently heading to the International Space Station.

Squids Space Takeover

According to AP News, it’s all for a very good reason. A researcher name Jamie Foster will learn how this space travel impacts the creature. She can then apply that research to help human health as astronauts, and perhaps others someday, take part in a long space mission.

“As astronauts spend more and more time in space, their immune systems become what’s called dysregulated. It doesn’t function as well. Their immune systems don’t recognize bacteria as easily. They sometimes get sick,” Foster said.

So, how can a squid be relevant to a person’s health? A squid actually has a symbiotic relationship with the natural bacteria around them. It makes it so they can regulate their bioluminescence. It’s the opposite for humans. In low-gravity situations, our relationship with microbes change and can lead to a series of issues.

Social Media Reaction and Other NASA Project

These health issues getting answers can open up a lot of doors for humanity. If we hope to one day collectively spend time on either Mars or the moon, we must pinpoint these health issues and how to correct them.

If you’re worried about the safety of the squid, don’t. The small Hawaiian creature is not on a one-way flight. Instead, it will return to Earth sometime in July.

People on social media have been getting a kick out of the headline that a squid is up in space for research. One person responded, “That’s so nice, what is the squid researching?”

The squids will also have water bears as companions. These are microscopic organisms that can survive in conditions often fatal for other animals. Due to their indestructible nature, NASA believes they are perfect to help study resilience and biological survival.

Space and astronauts have no shortage of awe-worthy moments. These two studies may increase the odds of who can take part in these otherworldly adventures.

A recent video captured a beautiful and epic moment up in space. The Guardian shared the video. French and American astronauts were taking part in a six-hour spacewalk. The goal was to install some new solar panels at the International Space Station.

As the astronauts work, Earth suddenly slips into the frame. The blue, glowing orb appears massive and monumental. These solar panels just installed will power the station for about 15 years. They will be the powerhouses of all these research and science projects that are often centered at the ISS.