The dots were sent into space for study by Thomas Pesquet

On Tuesday, these single-celled organisms took off for the International Space Station. The French astronaut will conduct his experiment in zero gravity at the same time that thousands of students are running on Earth at the start of the school year.

the “Vesarum polycephalumIt consists of only one cell and several nuclei. Similar to the yellow-colored spongy mass, it lacks a mouth, legs, and a brain. Yet it eats, grows, moves (very slowly) and has amazing learning abilities. The creature can also split at will and quench (without dying) by dehydration: in this case several pieces took off from Point on Tuesday aboard a cargo ship from the International Space Station.

Four samples of the same strain, called Blobi Wan Kenobi 1,2,3,4 — in reference to Star Wars — flew on Tuesday aboard the Cygnus NG-16 cargo ship to reach the International Space Station, according to reports. France 3. The question here would be to study their behavior in weightlessness.

When the astronaut rehydrates them, in September, four sauces about 0.5 cm long will wake up 400 kilometers from Earth, in Petri dishes, to undergo two protocols: one will test the position of special food points, and the other will save the lucky ones. With a food source – oatmeal.

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4500 schools mobilized

«Today, no one knows what behavior it will take in microgravity: in which direction will it move, will it take the third dimension through the upward or inclined direction?“,” asks Pierre Ferrand, Professor of Earth and Life Sciences seconded to CNES, one of the initiators of the project. “I’d be curious to see if it grows by forming columnsasks blob specialist Audrey Dsoutour, director of CNRS research at the Center for Research on Animal Cognition in Toulouse.

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On Earth, thousands of samples have been cut from the same strain (LU352) as those of their space counterparts, which will be distributed to 4,500 schools, colleges and high schools in France. Institutions were quick to respond to the call for projects. “Initially, we planned to provide 2,000 classrooms. But in the face of the influx of recordings, the French National Council for Space Studies and the National Center for Scientific Research made financial efforts to meet 4,500 requests.’” says Kristen Koresher, the space agency’s head of educational projects.

«This represents over 350,000 students who will + touch + dot!» Congratulates herself. At the end of August and beginning of September, teachers will receive a kit containing between 3 and 5 solids prepared by Audrey Dussautor’s team, along with a tutorial for conducting the experiment. When Thomas Bisket is there moistening his bubbles, the students will do the same in class. The photo sessions will start after that, so you can compare her behavior with or without cuteness.

An organization that does not respect the usual principles

Since it disrupts some scientific theories, the point should generate a lot of discussion in the classroom. “For example in cell theory, which is one of the oldest cell theory, we say that each cell is divided into two cells. With the point, it does not work, because it is a single cell that grows without dividing’” explains Pierre Ferrand. Another biological whim: “When most beings use two genders, the point has more than 720! It’s a living being «with drawers» Which tells us that life consists of many assetsAccording to this professor.

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If the experiments prove conclusive, Audrey Dsuttur aims to organize another project in 2022: studying the impact of climate change on the single-celled organism. Extensive study will again depend on the schools but also on all possible voluntary structures.

The point appeared on Earth more than 500 million years ago, before animals. It was considered a fungus for a long time, before it was expelled from this era to join in the 90s the group of amoeba, of which the amoeba is part.

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