The BioSentinel spacecraft will bring yeast into orbit around the Sun.
For the first time, NASA is about to send living things beyond the reach of Earth's orbit.
A year from now, a small spacecraft called BioSentinel will shuttle living yeast into orbit around the Sun, according to Space.com. This will be the farthest that an earthly lifeform has traveled from Earth since the Apollo mission to the Moon — and scientists hope the trip will reveal how prolonged exposure to solar radiation affects DNA so that they can prepare for extended human trips into space.
BioSentinel is expected to spend up to a year orbiting the Sun, during which NASA scientists will monitor the yeast and compare it to another sample that will be kept on the International Space Station, per Space.com.
"This is new territory," NASA astrophysicist Kimberly Ennico Smith told Space.com, going on to say that she hopes to see more of these experiments out of NASA in the near future. We're still a long way off from migrating out into the cosmos, but studies like these could help lay the groundwork.
READ MORE: In 2020, NASA Will Send Living Things to Deep Space for First Time Since Apollo [Space.com]
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