Maybe it’s time to welcome our new insect overlords. In what sounds like the prequel to the movie Alien, Russian news Agency Novosti, reported on an experiment involving baby cockroaches conceived aboard a satellite in back in September. Apparently, they found, a trip to space gives roaches “superpowers”.
The cockroaches conceived in space onboard the Russian Foton-M bio satellite have developed faster and become hardier than 'terrestrial' ones, a research supervisor confirmed on Thursday.
The research team has been monitoring the cockroaches since they were born in October. The scientists established that their limbs and bodies grew faster.
"What is more, we have found out that the creatures... run faster than ordinary cockroaches, and are much more energetic and resilient," Dmitry Atyakshin said.
Cockroaches, as well as other types of insects, can give birth several times after one impregnation, and the cockroaches that conceived during the bio-satellite's September 14-26 flight have since given birth to their second and third batches of offspring.
"The second and third batches did not show these peculiarities of growth and physiology," the scientist noted.
That’s good news, since we wouldn’t want any of the mutants to somehow escape the lab and create a new population of hard to kill cockroaches. Average cockroaches are already known for their incredible resilience. Some can last almost an hour without oxygen, or even a month without food. They are also able to withstand high doses of radiation.
The September 14-26 flight was part of an ongoing experiment into the effects of space flight by the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP). The ugly critters were sealed in special containers, and a video camera filmed their weightless mutant space sex during the flight. (Now don’t you wish you had access to that video tape?)
Whether these “super mutant” effects are somehow due to the weightless environment during conception, or to a healthy dose of radiation, or some other factor has not yet been disclosed. Nor did the report reveal whether any of these 33 new super-roaches are planning to take over the planet, or hunt us for sport.
Posted by Rebecca Sato.
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