(Image source from: Water fleas to Space)
University of Birmingham (UK) is preparing to send water fleas to International Space Station to study the behavior and response of the animals in zero gravity conditions. If this experiment gives positive results, it will certainly lead to form an ecological system in ISS and Space.
Water fleas called Daphnia, which are available in a lake nearby the University of Birmingham, will be sent to the ISS for further studies on living conditions of animals and living organisms in Space conditions. These water fleas are first organisms to be sent to Space from UK waters. The Astronauts onboard at ISS will observe the changes and conditions like swimming patterns, stress conditions and reproductive capacities of the fleas. University of Birmingham researchers are assessing the amount of Algae that is required to feed the water fleas called Daphnia while travelling and while their stay at ISS.
Dr Kay Van Damme from the University of Birmingham’s School of Bio-Sciences said that the experiment will help them to study the behavior of the living organisms at greater level under zero gravity and varying cold temperature conditions. Simple eco systems can be built or established if this effort become a success. However the fleas must be prepared to survive in such abnormal environment conditions. And the astronauts’ team that is present at ISS will monitor the changes and response of the water fleas. Cameras will record every minute difference and development, which are fixed to microscopes.
This may pave ways to send living animals (organisms) to zero gravity and rapidly changing environments.