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Hawaiian Cephalopods To Help Astronauts Stay Healthy In Space

Hawaiian Cephalopods To Help Astronauts Stay Healthy In Space

Scientists hope that studying the squid will help them see how astronauts can cope with health issues in space better.

Dozens of baby squid have been launched into space to study how their journey affects them.

A SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station launched 128 baby Hawaiian bobtail squid into orbit earlier this month.

Scientists believe that understanding how squids cope with space travel could aid in the treatment of astronauts' health problems.

"As astronauts spend more and more time in space, their immune systems become dysregulated, and they don't function as well," said researcher Jamie Foster.

"Their immune systems do not recognize bacteria as easily, and they occasionally become ill as a result."

"There are aspects of the immune system that simply do not function properly during long-duration spaceflights," she added.

"If humans want to spend time on the moon or Mars, we must solve health issues that will allow them to travel safely there."

"We have found that the symbiosis of humans with their microbes is perturbed in microgravity, and Jamie has shown that is true in squid," said Margaret McFall-Ngai, a University of Hawaii professor who was one of Foster's teachers in the 1990s.

"And, because it's such a simple system, she can figure out what's wrong."

The squid are bred at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, which breeds the species for use in research projects all over the world.

The animals, which are abundant in Hawaiian waters, grow to only 7cm in length and live in the wild for only two or three months.

They will be frozen in preparation for their July return to Earth.
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