Le blob, ou Physarum polycephalum, un organisme pour le moins étonnant. © ESA

What is this point that just landed on the space station?

Among other experiments, the point landed on August 12 on the International Space Station. He is welcomed by Thomas Pesquet who will study his behavior in space while the French students will do the same on Earth.

On this Tuesday, August 10, the Cygnus spacecraft took off from the United States to the International Space Station (ISS). Bring Renovations. Among them, the European Space Agency (ESA) experiment studying Viscous liquid. During this project, I carried out In cooperation with the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes) and Audrey Dusseautour, researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), French students and Thomas Bisket It plans to conduct the same experiments on Earth and in space at the same time.

The point safely reached its destination on Thursday, August 12, at 12:07 p.m. (Paris time).

What experiments will be performed on the point?

As part of this study, young and old scientists will first observe Point behavior and movements. It will be left in its empty chest where it will move in search of food.

In the second step, the experiment representatives will look at how the point works with four food sources. On Earth, he could connect them all using his venous system, but would he be able to do the same in the labs of the International Space Station?

The aim of the project is to educate students, from primary to secondary school and all levels, to science, but also to know what is microgravity effects on this amazing creature.

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But what’s the point?

The point, her real name Vesarum polycephalumAnd It is a slime mold. This class of organisms can be confused with mushroom, but unlike the latter, it does not contain fungi and does not feed absorbAnd But by phagocytosis. It is easy to live with a unicellular organism: it can eat a lot of things and it can grow in the laboratory Without problems, it doubles in size in one day.

Surprising at first glance, but Vesarum polycephalum can move. It does this by contracting its venous system, thus pushing its intracellular fluid against cell membranemaking it move.

the Learning abilities of slime mold (who does not have brain !) Equally unusual. In fact, theOcean He doesn’t like certain chemicals like salt, but he can learn to tolerate them if you encounter them a few times. This is what happened during an experiment on the Salt Bridge, which quickly crossed the “experienced” points, in contrast to the “naive” ones. Even more impressive is that information can be transmitted between individuals if they touch each other.

In nature, it prefers cool and humid environments, such as forest basins or parts thereof He drinks dead. In the event that it is not suitable for the surrounding conditions, the point can protect itself by adopting a file Ultra-resistant sleep state For all bad weather. In this form he traveled to the International Space Station.

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