back to article Intrepid squid mission may help in kraken riddle of why zero-g makes astronauts sick

Immunology boffins in the US are hoping to learn the secret of how to keep humans well enough for long enough to live on the Moon or travel to Mars by sending some tiny squid into space. While this may seem like a slightly counterintuitive plan, the reason the squid were chosen as test subjects is perfectly sensible and not …

  1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Only squid?

    Why not throw in a few of those immortal jellyfish as well. There's no way that can go wrong.

    1. You aint sin me, roit

      And some sponges

      If the experiment goes badly at least they'll be able to clean the windows...

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge


    Will the astronauts be eating the squid, having completed the experiment?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: UMAMI

      need to send up tempura batter, a zero-G fryer, and cocktail sauce to go with it (-ika)

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: a zero-G fryer

        In future generations people will be complaining that "it ain't like the old days where you could toss a pancake and it would land back in the pan, nowadays you have to report it as another piece of space junk."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UMAMI

      It was that or SASHIMIS

      See A Squid Harmed In Microgravity In Spaaaace.


    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: UMAMI

      If they are Korean or Chinese.

  3. Grikath

    Umami.... seriously...

    Although as acronyms go this one is ..palatable..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clothes washing

    I read an article on another site today about the lack of ability to wash clothes in space. The astronauts apparently wear them until they can't stand the stench anymore. Maybe, just maybe, insufficient hygiene might have something to do with it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: insufficient hygiene

      I was vaguely pondering the opposite idea - i.e. given a (presumably) smaller variety of bacteria and viruses in their restricted environment, this means that their immune systems don't get enough real work to do, so get bored and stop working properly.

      Whichever way it works, I wouldn't have thought that looking at a squid would help. Who knew?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Clothes washing

      when you consider how dry cleaning machines and front-load washers work, it shouldn't be THAT hard to design a front-loading spinny washing machine with sufficient artificial gravity to wash clothes... and a hyper-efficient extraction process that wastes very little water [and dries at low temperatures].

      I'd expect the gunk and lint would end up in a disposable filter of some kind, and anything stinky could be burnt off by passing it through high temperature heating elements in the presence of air. [in the submarine world, that is called a 'burner']

      where's the X prize for this? [I need to enter]

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: Clothes washing

        Hmm. Would you also need carefully balanced counter-rotating washing machine spins so as to avoid also gradually rotating the whole space station in a possibly inconvenient manner? :-)

      2. Blergh

        Re: Clothes washing

        Washing machines don't just spin they are constantly turning and then stopping, which allows gravity to mix things up. However without gravity wouldn't all the water/chemicals not just stay on the outside of the drum?

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: Clothes washing

          Drums would have to be redesigned to bring back water and cleaning chemicals back into its centre but that part wouldn't be rocket science (just space engineering)

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Clothes washing

        Or the old SF staple method of "washing" clothes. Hang 'em outside the airlock to freeze dry the sweat and bacteria, bring 'em back in and shake them clean.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Water in 0g

    So how do they keep the squid in water? How do they keep little voids and air pockets from harming them?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Water in 0g

      as I understand it surface tension on water tends to make it form a ball in 0g. So that would be relatively free of air bubbles, though oxygenating the water might be challenging... (might be fun to see how they solved that)

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: So how do they keep the squid in water?

      I suppose one way to simulate gravity would be with a centrifuge. Not too fast otherwise you will get the "kermit" effect (mass exsquinction).

      1. Spherical Cow

        Re: So how do they keep the squid in water?

        But they don't want to stimulate gravity: the whole point of the experiment is to find out how the squid's relationship with bacteria changes in zero g.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Zero G Space Sickness

    I always assumed this was due to confusion between what your inner ear was telling your brain, compared to what your eyes were telling it.


    I'd be no good in space, suffering vertigo just getting out of bed sometimes. BTW if you are plagued with this I found the Epley Maneuver very effective.

    1. beep54

      Re: Zero G Space Sickness

      I've begun suffering mild to severe vertigo. Hemp oil or CBD helps. A lot when I cannot even leave the apt.

  7. PeteS46

    The 'sick squid' 'joke'? GROAN

  8. IceC0ld

    err, yea, acronyms .............

    well this IS El Reg

    so here we have our own set of scales and weights

    we also have TITSUP as out very own acronym, and so I present MY take on Squids in SPACE

    T - esting

    I - f

    T - he

    S - quid

    U - sually

    P - uke

  9. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Margaret Atwood's definition of SF as "talking squids in outer space". I'm sure the squid would be good at sign language at least.

  10. You aint sin me, roit

    Wrong scientific priorities

    Forget about space sickness... I want those symbiotic bacteria!

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