Chernobyl Disaster Fungus Radiation Mars
Called Cryptococcus neoformans fungi, this type of fungus was found growing inside the buildings of the Chernobyl disaster, and it one day could help protect humans from radiation on Mars as well as space travel. It was discovered in 1991, five years after the disaster, and it survives by feeding on radiation due to its high melanin content, a pigment found in skin which turns it dark. Read more for a video and additional information.

Its immense melanin levels absorb the toxic radiation and turns it into chemical energy, similar to how plants convert carbon dioxide and chlorophyll into oxygen and glucose via photosynthesis. However, this process is called radiosynthesis and scientists believe it could be used to benefit humans. They’re currently running experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) to see how the fungi reacts to radiation from space, and so far, the results appear to be positive. By applying this fungi to future spacecraft as well as Mars settlements, it could absorb most of the harmful radiation and protect humans.

LEGO Ideas 21317 Disney Steamboat Willie Building Kit (751 Pieces)
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LEGO Ideas 21317 Disney Steamboat Willie Building Kit (751 Pieces)
  • Fans can celebrate Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary with this Steamboat Willie model toy, featuring steam pipes that move up and down and paddle wheels that rotate when the boat is pushed along, an adjustable crane and lots of authentic details.
  • This LEGO boat set includes 2 new-for-April-2019 minifigures: Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, each with silver-colored decoration, plus Mickey Mouse’s parrot figure
  • Steamboat Willie LEGO boat toy measures over 5” (15cm) high, 10” (26cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide
  • 751 pieces – Mickey Mouse toy building set for boys and girls aged 10+ and for fans and big kids of all ages
  • This LEGO Ideas 21317 Disney Steamboat Willie collectible construction toy can be built together with all other original LEGO building toys and LEGO bricks for creative play

What makes the fungus great is that you only need a few grams to start out. It self-replicates and self-heals, so even if there’s a solar flare that damages the radiation shield significantly, it will be able to grow back in a few days,” said Nils Averesch, Stanford researcher and study co-author.