Mushrooms to terrify Mars and confuse astronauts

Mushrooms to terrify Mars and confuse astronauts

NASA is studying the use of different types of fungi to make the soil on Mars more fertile and to grow food on the red planet. One of the researchers working on this is a mycologist Paul Stamets, It also maintains The use of magic mushrooms can help astronauts “overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, loneliness and depression.”

In addition to collaborating with the U.S. Space Agency, Stamets is a researcher at Washington State University, NIH (US National Institute of Health / Virology) and on the editorial board of The International Journal of Medicinal Mushroom. He has authored several books on mycology Mycelium Running: How mushrooms help save the world, y His prestige prompted the writers of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ to create a character based on him.

Stamatz wants to be the first ‘astronomer’, A term for his own invention that best describes his work with NASA. In fact, we are talking about the biology of the universe, our nudity within the biology of the universe. So ‘astronomy’ will be the study of the biology of fungi throughout the universe. I think it is inevitable that one day we will find nudity on other planets, “explains the statements in AI. Interview To the American Journal of Science.

What is NASA going to do with the mushrooms?

The goal of the research is being developed by Stamets in collaboration with the U.S. Space Agency Find the fungus that can break regolith – In this case, the dust on the surface of the moon, Mars or an asteroid – and, in addition, a series of plants capable of enriching the soil with astronauts’ own waste. Another planet.

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It’s much easier to grow your food with a seed than to carry a ton of food into space, Is that right ”, The researcher confirms. Nature is incredibly efficient in terms of payload. Creating a load of natural food is much better than having your rocket carry a payload of food. ”

Photo: The first man arrives on Mars.  (Venture City - YouTube)

Of the 700 species of fungi in the archives of stamens, Oyster mushrooms are the most promising To carry out that task. According to the researcher, these mushrooms decompose hydrocarbons very effectively, and are abundant in the universe, converting them into fungal carbohydrates, i.e. sugar. “Sugar is definitely an essential nutrient for every living thing I know on this planet,” Stamets explains. “So the idea of ​​using hydrocarbons as a raw material for oyster mushrooms makes a lot of sense.”

The researcher agrees that hydrocarbons alone are not enough and that they need to provide other nutrients in order to have more biodiversity. And growing and later dying organisms They are converted into vitamins and other minerals. “You create a microbiological environment that is just a particle, and then these things start to develop,” Stamets says. “As their communities become more diverse and complex, these life goals are starting to become huge oases. As the oasis environment grows larger than it needs, it can support humans. “

Photo: No water, no clay under the ice at the south pole of Mars.  (It)

In addition to enriching the soil and adapting to biodiversity, research is underway Fungus as a basis for placing structures outside the earth. Stamets worked with Reishi Mushroom and made bricks out of them. The researcher guarantees that the bricks will have a more solid solid consistency than stainless steel after drying. Fungi also have insulating properties, and can be like mycelium Batteries, Thus, in addition to maintaining temperature, structures capable of storing energy were created.

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Mushrooms to improve the mental health of astronauts

Stamets is also an expert in magic mushrooms. In his book ‘The world’s psilocybin mushroom’, The world’s psilocybe mushroom reviews various species of this fungus found on the planet. The researcher thinks that this type of mushroom will be very useful for astronauts who have to spend a long time in space. In fact, NASA and other space agencies are aware of the importance of maintaining the mental health of astronauts. The stress of missions, the dangers involved, the experience of loneliness and isolation can cause serious problems for crews on interplanetary journeys.

Para stamets One of the possible solutions to this problem is the psilocybe mushroom. “Under carefully controlled circumstances, our astronauts can take psilocybin into space and think about the universe without experiencing distance and isolation, but they seem to be part of this colossal consciousness – mentally and emotionally – to work with other astronauts and to continue the mission.” “I think isolation, loneliness and depression are the main problems facing astronauts.”

Photo: Astronaut Bruce McCandless walks the first unrestricted spacewalk in history (NASA)

Stamets do not say this in complete lysergic, and several scientific studies have proven it The Psilocybin And others Mental illnesses They can treat depression and other mental disorders. Plus, countries like it Canada and the USA They have already started giving psilocybin therapies for the treatment of such diseases.

“I say this very sincerely: NASA and anyone else thinking about space colonization should consider it to be a psilocybin mushroom. An important part of your psychological toolkit So astronauts can face loneliness, space challenges and isolation, the researcher says.

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