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Current Affairs

NASA sends water bears and baby squids to ISS

Date: 01 June 2021 Tags: Space


NASA will be sending tardigrades (also called water bears) and glowing baby squids to the International Space Station for research purpose.



SpaceX’s 22nd cargo resupply will carry the organisms to the space station. It will be the first such mission.



The experiments will help scientists study how beneficial microorganisms interact with animals.  Improving protective measures for long-duration space travel will be studied.



  • The ISS is a form of experimental spacecraft located on the low earth orbit. It will allow astronauts to come on board, stay and perform experiments.

  • It was established in 1998 and is based on cooperation between NASA (USA), JAXA (Japan), Roscosmos (Russia), CSA (Canada) and ESA (Europe).

  • Various streams of experiments performed on the ISS include material and space science, biology, human physiology etc. It is most famous for micro-gravity conditions.


Need for sea animals at the ISS

  • The bobtail squids and water bears will be transported to the ISS in a semi-frozen state. They will be revived and later grown under bio-culture medium.

  • The water bears have the ability to survive in various extreme conditions such as high pressure, radiation and temperature.

  • The study will focus on the ability of the water bears to survive hardness and also identify the genes that will help in such adaptation.

  • Studying bobtail squid will allow scientists to understand interaction between animals and microbes in low gravity conditions. This is important for future human space flights.



  • The role of micro organisms in human body development is important. This includes developing the immune system, digestion and detoxifying harmful chemicals.

  • Disruption of this relationship can lead to diseases. The study will be focusing on the effects on body due to disruption of the microbe relationship.