Chernobyl Mold Could Shield Astronauts from Radiation
It turns out that if you go to Mars and back you can absorb up to 60% of the maximum lifetime dosage of radiation. And unlike exposure to cosmic rays, space radiation won’t turn you into a member of the Fantastic Four. A unlikely possible solution to this exposure comes from a Stanford and North Carolina university study that demonstrated fungus growing in the nuclear fallout at Chernobyl has blocked radiation on the international space station. Here’s more from Engadget:
Near the Chernobyl reactor, scientists recently discovered fungi that multiply in the still-extreme radiation environment, possibly by performing “radiosynthesis.” In that process, the Cladosporium sphaerospermum fungi may actually feed on radiation by using pigments to perform radiosynthesis that converts gamma rays into chemical energy.
With that in mind, the research team decided to do a proof-of-concept study on the ISS to see how the mold would fare in blocking space radiation. They set up petri dishes with C. sphaerospermum fungi on one side and a control with no fungi on the other. Underneath, a pair of radiation detectors were connected to Raspberry Pi devices to capture radiation levels, and measure humidity, temperature, flow and other parameters.
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