During the total solar eclipse on August 21, research teams located across the U.S. along the path of totality will launch dozens of balloons to the edge of space to simulate life’s ability to survive beyond Earth. The balloons will be transporting small, metal cards, called “coupons,” (shown here), 100,000 feet into the stratosphere, with harmless, yet environmentally resilient bacteria dried onto their surface. There, the bacteria will be exposed to below-freezing temperatures and radiation levels similar to those found on the surface of Mars. The results of the experiment will improve our understanding of environmental limits for terrestrial life, and inform our search for life on other worlds.
More info: https://go.nasa.gov/2v29tys
Image credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Tristan Caro
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