A single-celled yellow slime mold known as Blob is heading towards the International Space Station.
Blob is a naturally occurring slimy mold with the scientific name Physarum polycephalum. But the European Space Agency – which is send blob to the ISS so that he can be observed in microgravity – clearly understands that calling him by his nickname makes the mold much more likely to land a movie deal.
“Composed of a single cell, the brainless blob is still capable of moving, feeding, organizing and even transmitting knowledge to like-minded slimy molds,” says ESA, which does not not give details on type of like-minded slime mold knowledge. tendency to share.
The objective of the Blob investigation is to study the influence of microgravity on the behavior of the Blob. Will the body behave differently in space? How could microgravity and radiation affect its evolution?
Blob is slated to launch to the ISS on August 10 on Northrop Grumman’s NASA’s 16th Commercial Refueling Mission. Once arrived, the ESA astronaut and space photographer Thomas Pesquet will add water to Blob to wake him up and take a picture of him according to two scientific protocols. We will study how two Blobs react side by side in an environment without food. Another will analyze the other two Blobs when food becomes available (oatmeal, of course).
Elementary, high school, and high school students on Earth will conduct similar experiments, comparing their results to time-lapse video from space to observe the differences in Blob’s speed, shape, and growth there and here. The aim is to further immerse the children of France and other ESA Member States in the biological sciences. As this is an educational experience, there is no direct spatial application, at least to our knowledge.
The French space agency, CNES, is in partnership with the country’s national scientific research center on the survey.
“Blob is a unique experience which stimulates students’ curiosity on themes such as the impact of the environment on organisms and the development of living organisms”, declared Evelyne Cortiade-Marché, head of the education department at CNES, in a statement. communicated.
The experiment will last for seven days. During this time, a four second video of Blob will be automatically saved to a micro SD card every 10 minutes. And later, perhaps, sent to Hollywood agents.