Chernobyl mold can protect against radiation by absorbing it
The study showed that a fungus found near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is capable of blocking and absorbing harmful radiation.
According to scientists from Stanford University, a sample of Cladosporium sphaerospermum found in Pripyat actually fed on radiation, using its pigments to convert gamma rays into chemical energy. This property allows it to be used to block cosmic radiation.
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Tests on the ISS showed that a 2 mm thick film of mold traps 2% of solar radiation, and a layer of 21 cm is able to almost completely neutralize the annual volume of radiation on the surface of Mars. Although such a human shield is not suitable for humans, the researchers argue that it can be grown in just a couple of days, even in microgravity, and neutralize the effect of a solar flare.
The fungus can also be used to protect astronauts. Scientists propose to create a cream containing mycelium for partial shielding of the skin or to make medicines based on it, which will help cancer patients, air pilots and workers at nuclear power plants to live without fear of radiation. It can also be added to the suit material.
Recently, researchers have also synthesized a new type of pigment, melanin, that can protect against harmful radiation as well as lead.