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Mould from Chernobyl nuclear reactor tested as radiation shield on ISS

The International Space Station

NASA Archive / Alamy

A radiation-absorbing fungus found at the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear reactor has been shown to absorb harmful cosmic rays on the International Space Station, and could potentially be used to protect future Mars colonies.

Exposure to cosmic rays poses a major health risk to astronauts leaving Earth’s protective atmosphere. Shields can be made out of stainless steel and other materials, but they must be shipped from Earth, which is difficult and costly.

Xavier Gomez and Graham Shunk came up with the idea of growing radiation shields on Mars out of living organisms while …

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