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Attempt to protect astronauts from cosmic rays with "radiation mold" found in Chernobyl


Science

Attempt to protect astronauts from cosmic rays with "radiation mold" found in Chernobyl

The worst level ever in 1986Nuclear accidentUsing the mold found at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that causedAttempt to protect astronauts from radiation flying in spaceIs conducted by the research teams at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Stanford University. The research team reported that the experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) "provided certain results."

A Self-Replicating Radiation-Shield for Human Deep-Space Exploration: Radiotrophic Fungi can Attenuate Ionizing Radiation aboard the International Space Station | bioRxiv
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.16.205534v1

Testing Chernobyl fungi as a radiation shield for astronauts
https://phys.org/news/2020-07-chernobyl-fungi-shield-astronauts.html

Chernobyl Fungi To Protect Astronauts from Space Radiation
https://interestingengineering.com/fungi-from-chernobyl-reactor-could-save-astronauts-from-space-radiation

The mold found in February 2020 from the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plantBlack moldIt is a type of (Cladosporium sphaerospermum). A lot of this moldmelaninIt is capable of not only surviving deadly radiation levels but also absorbing radiation and converting it into chemical energy.reportit was done.

It was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that noticed this mold. In outer spaceCosmic rayIt is said that high-energy radiation called "is constantly flying around, and astronauts receive a dose of 0.5-1 millisievert per day during their stay at the ISS."It is said.. Therefore, NASA is studying how to prevent astronauts from being exposed and thought that this mold could be applied.

In cooperation with NASA, a sample of mold found in Chernobyl was sent to the ISS. Then, the mold on one half of the Petri dish with the radiation detector was propagated, and the ISS was observed for 30 days, comparing with the other half that was not propagated.

In the images below, A to I are taken from Petri dishes at 6-hour intervals. It can be seen that the left side is the part coated with mold, and it covers one side in just 48 hours, even in a microgravity environment. The research team speculates that "it uses ionizing radiation from the space environment for metabolism, and therefore shows a higher growth rate than on the ground."

Experiments have also shown that the mold found in Chernobyl absorbs about 2% of the radiation that falls. NASA research scientist Kasthuri Venkateswaran, who led the experiment, suggested that the mold could be used as a "sunscreen" against radiation.

In addition, the research team cites as a major advantage that "it only needs to give the mold a small amount of nutrients and is exposed to radiation, and it propagates by self-replication from a microscopic amount". Could significantly absorb the annual dose of exposure on the surface of Mars."

NASA aims for manned moon landing by 2024Artemis PlanWe are also promoting a human exploration of Mars. In the future, mold found in Chernobyl could be applied to protect space stations such as the ISS, lunar and Mars bases, and extra-astronaut astronauts from cosmic rays. You can expect enough.

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