Mold can withstand doses of radiation that kill human

From the very beginning of space stations and their inner surfaces have begun to emerge micro-organisms, including fungi. For example, at station “the World” in large quantity was found, mold spores of the genus Penicillium, which on earth are commonly formed in food products. It is believed that some of them can cause corrosion of aluminum alloys, but they are dangerous in space, is still unknown. However, they represent a danger to equipment, which can be used in the colonization of Mars — researchers from the German center of aviation proved that they survive even extreme levels of radiation.

The discovery was made in the course of the experiment, where a group of scientists under the leadership of Martha Cortezo put spores in the conditions close to the conditions of outer space. They were subjected to x-ray and UV radiation, and watching their growth. It turned out that the fungus is able to survive even after absorbing 500 gray radiation is hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for humans. In the case of ultraviolet radiation, the spores withstood a capacity of 3 000 Joules per square meter.

How dangerous is mold?

According to Martha Cortese resistant to radiation mold can interfere with the long-term space missions. For example, as mentioned above, it can contribute to corrosion, and remove equipment failure. Based on this, employees of space agencies will have at least thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of the ship, given the high persistence of mold.

Spores of Penicillium

In addition to hardware issues, some types of mold can affect the health of the astronauts themselves. For example, on the International space station have already been discovered the spores of fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, which may cause infectious diseases in people with a weakened immune system. In addition to fearlessness in front of the radiation, fungi also are not afraid of chemicals and high temperatures.

At the moment scientists do not have effective means of dealing with sustainable types of mold, but they probably are already developing them.

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