“There are other forms of life”: what the astronauts are hiding on the ISS

“There are other forms of life”: what the astronauts are hiding on the ISS

MOSCOW, 19 sen — news, Alfia Enikeeva. “There are other life forms in space,” tweeted astronaut Scott Kelly, when in January 2016 to the ISS blooming asters-zinnias.


For two decades the station was visited by representatives of almost all the kingdoms of nature — plants, bacteria, fungi, and animals.

Cosmic garden

In August of 2015 during a live broadcast from the ISS, the members of the 44th crew tried lettuce lettuce grown right on the station. “To taste more like a salad” — shared then impressions of Kelly, under whose watchful eye the plant is matured for 33 days.

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The salad was in space, as a seed, and grew up on a special platform Veggie system developed for the experiment, Veg-01 study of the behavior of higher plants in orbit.

A few years earlier Russian cosmonauts landed on the station, pea, wheat, barley, radishes and lettuce culture in a special greenhouse “Lada”, created by the staff of the Institute of biomedical problems of RAS. Only from 2002 to 2011, spent 17 comonotonicity experiments.

The Russians first received four consecutive generations of peas. It is argued that in conditions of space flight plants to form viable seeds, which means that traveling to other planets (e.g. Mars), the crew will be able to grow their own food.

During the download an error has occurred.In the open space

As the experience of the cosmonaut Elena Serova, plants are able to live on the ISS and outside of special greenhouses. At the end of 2014, the Russian managed with regular gauze and sunlight to germinate Apple seeds. It was the first escape Apple introduced in microgravity. However, the tree he did not.

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But the seeds of rice and barley in 31 months stay in open space (they were in a special container “Biorisk-MSN”, attached to the outer skin of the ISS) returned to Earth, sprouted, and became a full-fledged plants. According to the who watched space seed researchers of the Institute for bioresources Okayama University (Japan), rice and barley developed normally and had no statistically significant deviations externally and physiologically compared to terrestrial relatives.

Similar results were obtained by scientists from the Institute of biomedical problems Russian Academy of Sciences, who oversaw the growth and development of radish (Raphanus sativus) and mustard red that also came from seed, have been in open space.

The strongest will survive

Well had two and a half years in outer space bacteria — more precisely, the strongest and most aggressive of them. The surviving strains have become more resistant to antimicrobial drugs. Six of the eight funds that were treated with bacteria of the species Bacillus subtilis are already on the Ground, did not work.

Survive in space and mosquitoes. After being on the hull of the ISS a little over a year (from June 2007 to July 2008), almost 80 percent of the larvae of chironomid midges (Polypedilum vanderplanki) after the return to Earth proved to be viable.

Some mosquito eggs were damaged, caused by vibrations and accelerations on the stages of withdrawal and lowering of equipment with larvae. However, this did not prevent them to fully restore livelihoods, returning to their home planet.


The spiders have been in space at least three times (in 2008, 2011 and 2012). Special abilities for survival in the harsh environment of space they are not shown, but pretty quickly adapted to microgravity.

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Scientists have concluded that the stay on the ISS does not change the basic behavioral strategies of arthropods. Orb-web spiders (Nephila clavipes) continued to spin a web on the ISS, though more rounded than on Earth. And their distant relatives — rufous-backed jumping spiders (Phidippus johnsoni) is also successfully hunted fruit flies on the orbit, as in native North America.

What happened to the spiders by the Orb-web spiders on Earth, history is silent, but spider-racer named Nefertiti that lived on the ISS for one hundred days, died a few months after returning home. Her remains were found in December 2012 the staff of the National Museum of natural history, USA, where Nefertiti lived out her days. Specialists say that the spider died of natural causes and space travel has nothing to do with it. She was ten months, and Phidippus johnsoni do not live more than a year.

The constellation of Pisces

Fish first arrived at the ISS in 2012. They created a special space aquarium with two video cameras and a smart control system, which is not only completely controlled living conditions and automatically feed its inhabitants, but also executed commands from the Ground.

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The first high-tech aquarium is inhabited small freshwater fish madaki (Oryzias latipes) dwelling in the rice fields. It is a perfect object for research because of Medak short cycle of reproduction and they reproduce successfully in orbit.

Weightless fish swam strange loops, but from a behavioural point of view is perfectly adapted for flight. When scientists compared the genomes of fry, born on the orbit, and the earth fry fish, it was found that the microgravity environment changes the expression of genes associated with growth and dissolution of Mature cells of bone tissue. In flight, the fish lost a lot of that tissue.