An example of a lichen that was exposed to space conditions on the International Space Station for 18 months. Some lichens survived the ordeal and continued to grow in the laboratory.
Several trays filled with organisms were installed on the outside of the European Columbus laboratory.
Further units are continuing to study the effects of outer space on organisms and organic chemicals.
The lichens have attracted interest from cosmetic companies. They can survive the full power of the Sun for 18 months, so knowing more could lead to new ingredients for suncream.
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