In Kiruna, Sweden, north of the polar circle, the Esrange Space Station has been blasting shrimp and fish into space, as part of experiments that could help humans to travel to Mars.
Radio Sweden spoke to the project coordinator for the German part of the TEXUS research programme, Andreas Schütte.
He says they send creatures into space for six minutes of micro-gravity, to reveal processes otherwise hidden by gravity.
They have observed fish and shrimps in micro-gravity, to find out the mechanisms in the ear where motion sickness comes from. They could discover how it is differences in the size of tiny grains in the ear system, which causes space-sickness, sea sickness or car-sickness. If the grains in one ear are larger than in the other, motion sickness is far more likely.
And these sea creatures could also be an essential part of any future Mars voyage, since astronauts will need fresh food, as well as tinned supplies.
“Of course you cannot live on these small shrimp,” says Andreas Schütte. But they have analysed whether shrimp can hunt in space – and they hope the shrimp can then become food for fishes which are worth eating.
-Reporter: Nathalie Rothschild
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian web documentary highlights Arctic science, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Northern lights could be visible from southern Finland this weekend, Yle News
Norway: Norway’s polar satellite centre, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger
Sweden: Sweden’s Arctic space centre sets sights on satellite launches, Radio Sweden
United States: Auroral research rocket blasts into space from Alaska range, Alaska Dispatch News