Bees die by the thousands in experiment to see if they could survive in a colony on Mars
- Researchers believe that beehives can feed a human colony on Mars
- The bees did not seem to appreciate conditions that simulate life in space
- Between 1,000 and 1,200 bees died every four days during the experiment
A team of scientists from the Lunares Research Station in Pila, Poland, concludes a two-week experiment testing how well bees can survive in a colony on the surface of Mars.
The results were not encouraging, as the team found that between 1,000 and 1,200 bees died every four days.
& # 39; It was almost a bit scary because you don't see this in nature, but isolated the dead bees covered the floor & # 39 ;, said Lunares researcher Aleksander Wasniowski.
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Researchers in Poland placed 90,000 honey bees in a sealed tent for two weeks to see how bees would adapt to conditions similar to what they could be in a colony on Mars
The experiment was intended not only to test how well bees could survive in space, but also how well a hive could function, partly to test whether honey bees could be used in food production in a colony on Mars, either in the form of honey production or by pollinating other edible plants.
The researchers started with 90,000 honey bees in sealed tents and checked for temperature, humidity and beehive, according to a report from Wired.
But not only did bees die at an accelerated pace, the limited circumstances seemed to have a major influence on the behavior of bees.
Bees came in a & # 39; wintering & # 39; where they seemed to greatly reduce their activity, usually seen during the winter.
They also discovered that the bees ignored the jars of lavender and spirulina powder that were placed in the closed tent to test whether they would try pollination.
Lunares researchers provided trays with spirulina (pictured above) as a substitute for pollen to see if the bees would actively try to pollinate plants
Instead, the bees usually stayed in the hive or gathered around lights placed in the tent.
The researchers discovered that the beehive had effectively stopped reproducing, something that seemed to speed up the rate of bee mortality as the temperature in the tent decreased along with the number of living bees.
While the generally short lifespan of bees is compensated by the queen bee, which can normally produce more than a thousand new bees per day under normal circumstances.
The typical lifespan of bees is between four and five months.
Researchers said they would prepare for a future experiment to see if the use of brighter light in the tent and the use of a gradual introduction to the independent environment could reduce the effect on bees.
"Eating is likely to be the most difficult thing to make locally on Mars, and you can't just import it if you want a self-sufficient arrangement," said University of Florida researcher Keith Cannon earlier this year.
Earlier this year, Cannon led a project that considered how a million human colony on Mars could be supported.
They suggested using a cricket farm because the insect could be ground into a high-calorie flower that could feed settlers.
"Bugs are the way to go, if people can overcome the gross factor," Cannon said.
WHAT ARE NASA & # 39; S PLANS FOR A MANNED MISSION AT MARS IN THE 2030S?
Mars has become the next giant leap for humanity's exploration of space.
But before humans reach the red planet, astronauts will take some small steps by returning to the moon for a one-year mission.
Moon lane mission details have been revealed as part of a timeline of events that led to missions to Mars in the 2030s.
NASA has outlined its four-phase plan (photo), which it hopes will someday allow people to visit Mars at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington DC yesterday. This will entail several missions to the moon in the coming decades
In May 2017, Greg Williams, policy and plan deputy administrator at NASA, outlined the space agency's four-phase plan that it hopes will someday allow people to visit Mars, as well as the expected time frame.
Phase one and two will include multiple journeys to the moon space, so that a habitat can be built that forms a stakeout for the voyage.
The last piece of hardware delivered would be the actual Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to transport a crew to Mars.
And a year-long simulation of life on Mars will be conducted in 2027.
Phases three and four begin after 2030 and will involve continuous crew expeditions to the Mars system and the surface of Mars.
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