Brainless slime mold is sent to the ISS so astronauts can study

A single-celled yellow slime called ‘Blob’ will shoot up to the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts will study how it learns and adapts despite being brainless.

Blob will launch on August 10 aboard Northrop Grumman’s 16th NASA commercial resupply mission.

Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) will conduct several experiments with the slime mold with a focus on studying how microgravity and radiation affect it.

One of the studies will see how Blob behaves in a microgravity environment with no food and the other where he is fed oat flakes.

Similar experiments will be conducted on Earth by elementary, middle and high school students, which will be compared to a time-lapse video from space to observe differences in Blob’s speed, shape and growth.

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A single-celled yellow slime called 'Blob' will blast toward the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts will study how it learns and adapts despite being brainless

A single-celled yellow slime called ‘Blob’ will blast toward the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts will study how it learns and adapts despite being brainless

The fungus, or Physarum polcephalum, has become very interesting to the scientific community for its ability to think, make decisions, sleep, learn, and even navigate a maze.

Evelyne Cortiade-Marché, head of the education department at the CNES, said in a: pronunciation: ‘Blob is a unique experience that stimulates students’ curiosity about themes such as the impact of the environment on organisms and the development of living organisms.’

A Blob kit will be launched to the ISS, containing for slime mold cells, a syringe and other components for Pesquet to begin his research.

Once received, he will stir the molds with water and place them in cylinder dishes.

A Blob kit will be launched to the ISS, containing for slime mold cells, a syringe and other components for Pesquet to begin his research

A Blob kit will be launched to the ISS, containing for slime mold cells, a syringe and other components for Pesquet to begin his research

Four samples of the slime mold are packed in the kit

Four samples of the slime mold are packed in the kit

A Blob kit is launched to the ISS, containing slime mold cells, a syringe and other components

According to Dr. Audrey Dussutour, a slime mold specialist and research director of the French National Center for Scientific Research, will observe de Blob’s growth and behavior for seven days, after which he will go into a quiescent state and remain aboard the ISS.

“Our goal is to investigate the effect of microgravity on slime mold behavior, particularly exploration behavior but also growth,” Dr Dussutour said at a news conference Monday.

“But the real main goal of this project is to get kids involved in interesting, exciting science experiments.”

A recent study of Blob was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany in February, which found that he recorded bright yellow slime molds where his last meal was by changing the shape of his tubular tendrils.

The fungus, or Physarum polcephalum, has become very interesting to the scientific community for its ability to think, make decisions, sleep, learn, and even navigate a maze.

The fungus, or Physarum polcephalum, has become very interesting to the scientific community for its ability to think, make decisions, sleep, learn, and even navigate a maze.

The fungus, or Physarum polcephalum, has become very interesting to the scientific community for its ability to think, make decisions, sleep, learn, and even navigate a maze.

A recent study of Blob was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany in February, which found that he recorded bright yellow slime molds where his last meal was by changing the shape of his tubular tendrils.

A recent study of Blob was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany in February, which found that he recorded bright yellow slime molds where his last meal was by changing the shape of his tubular tendrils.

A recent study of Blob was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany in February, which found that he recorded bright yellow slime molds where his last meal was by changing the shape of his tubular tendrils.

If it encounters food while weaving in an environment, the mold will maintain its specific structure in that area to know where to return to feast.

Karen Alim, the institute’s chief of biological physics and morphogenesis, and her colleague Mirna Kramar observed P. polycephalum under a microscope.

Typically, P. polycephalum reabsorbs and restructures its tendrils as it moves into a new environment.

But when it encountered a tasty snack, it held that structure in place.

‘[We] observed a clear imprint of a food source on the pattern of thicker and thinner tubes of the network long after feeding,” said Alim, a biological physicist at the Technical University of Munich, in a pronunciation.

According to Kramar, lead author in a report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ‘previous encounters imprinted in the network architecture weigh in on the decision about the future direction of migration.’

The pair believe that after a meal, the fungus releases a chemical that softens the tubes in its network, effectively redirecting the entire organism toward the food source.

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