Dozens of baby squid from Hawaii are being studied in space.

Hawaiian bobtail squids were reared at the University of Hawaii's Kewalo Marine Laboratory before being launched into space on a SpaceX resupply trip to the International Space Station earlier this month.

SpaceX's main goal was to transport thousands of pounds of goods as part of a commercial resupply mission that included research supplies and vehicle hardware, including the first two new solar arrays.


Hawaiian Bobtail squid.tiff
(Photo: Margaret McFall-Ngai/Wikimedia Commons)
The adult Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) with inset scale.

Why Are Space Squids Coming to Space?

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, NASA has released Hawaiian bobtail squids onboard the rocket to demonstrate the effects of long space voyages on them. According to Jamie Foster, a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Hawaii, the discoveries will be used to improve humans' health, such as astronauts.

The squids have been linked to the natural bacteria as part of the experiment since they have a symbiotic relationship. They are the bacteria responsible for the squid's bioluminescent property.

Margaret McFall-Ngai, a professor at the same university, working with Foster, links humans to bacteria changes. This occurs when space travelers face low gravity.

McFall-Ngai went on to say that there is a disruption in the symbiotic link between people and bacteria that they have discovered in microgravity. Foster likened it to the relationship between squid and microorganisms.

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How Can Squids in Space Open Solutions to Astronauts' Health?

This experiment may appear strange at first since the average person would have no idea why NASA wants to send Hawaiian squids into space. NASA's main investigator, Foster, explained why the space agency has to pursue this goal, saying that it would pave the way for information on the impact of microgravity on bacteria and animals.

According to Foster, astronauts' immune systems do not work as they do on Earth as they soak themselves in the strange space environment. They become "dysregulated" at this point.

The germs, according to Foster, are difficult for immune systems to recognize. This explains why astronauts on space missions occasionally become ill. She went on to say that this would aid them in devising a remedy to the astronauts' health issues.

Because the immune systems cannot cope with the interaction of human bodies in space, scientists might be able to design specific measures that will make the astronauts' journey safer.

The squids, which originated in the Hawaiian seas, have been plentiful on the island. The young (baby squid) ones can grow up to 3 inches in length (7.6 centimeters). Their sizes are comparable to those of their adult counterparts.

The squids meant for research have been raised at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory. The samples are anticipated to return to Earth next month, according to WMTV.

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