This is the best headline I've read in a long time:

Space-Born Jellyfish Hate Life On Earth.

I mean really. Just savor that headline. Let it wash over you. Feel its turbulence.

Jellyfish tell up from down through calcium sulfate crystals that ring the bottom edge of their mushroom-like bodies. The crystals are housed in little pockets lined with hair cells, and when the jellyfish moves, the crystals roll around, signaling to the brain which way is up by stimulating those hair cells. The pockets seemed to develop normally in space, but the astro-jellies later had trouble figuring out how to swim around in normal gravity. They had abnormal pulsing and movement when returned to Earth compared to non-astronaut jellyfish.

Humans sense gravity and acceleration using otoliths, calcium crystals in the inner ear (similar to those jellyfish have) which move sensitive hair cells to tell the brain which way gravity is pulling. So if the jellyfish had trouble developing their gravity senses in space, it's likely human space babies would get major vertigo too.

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One Response:

  1. I feel like your caption to the headline is as good as the headline.