In just over a week on June 3, 2021, these tiny squids will head to space along with many other scientific experiments aboard SpaceX’s 22nd cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The squids are a part of the UMAMI study which examines the effects of spaceflight on interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts. UMAMI stands for Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions. Microbes play a significant role in the normal development of animal tissues and in maintaining human health.
This investigation helps determine whether spaceflight alters the mutually beneficial relationship, which could support development of protective measures and mitigation to preserve astronaut health on long-duration space missions. The work also could lead to a better understanding of the complex interactions between animals and beneficial microbes, including new and novel pathways that microbes use to communicate with animal tissues. Such knowledge could help identify ways to protect and enhance these relationships for better human health and well-being on Earth as well.
Learn more about the experiments launching to space.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jamie S. Foster