NASA is currently preparing for launching a 14 kilograms satellite that will be the first one to carry life forms in space since 1972. Obviously, a handful of microbes are sent to a space journey each time a spacecraft is being launched, but NASA did not purposely send any living creatures in space since the Moon landing which happened almost 50 years ago.
Find out how yeasts are similar to humans
However, Bio Sentinel, which is a spacecraft is estimated to be launched in 2020, will carry two varieties of yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae, more specifically a slightly radiation resistant one and a more sensitive one, that suffered mutations so that it won’t be able to repair its DNA as efficiently. The mission will last 9 to 12 months, and it will allegedly give specialists valuable insights into how are living organisms affected by deep space radiations.
Similar yeasts payloads will be taken for examination purposes to the International Space Station, and the growth of S. cerevisiae will also be closely monitored by specialists in two laboratories in New York City, where they will also be exposed to radiation of high intensities. This species of yeasts is a relevant model for this mission since its reparation of DNA process is genuinely similar to the same process developed by humans.
Thus, this mission will help scientists understand what impact short and long-term space radiation exposure has on living creatures, implicitly on humans.
NASA has bigger plans
NASA is also working on a mission that will allow humans and payloads to access to places like the moon or Mars.
If everything goes according to the plan, in 2023, we might witness the launch of Artemis 2, which is intended to transport astronauts on a journey across the moon.
This launch will happen 12 months after the first piece of NASA’s space station that will orbit around the moon gets launched. This is called the “Gateway” and will play a crucial role in the missions that are yet to be launched or developed.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.