They say that in space, no one can hear you scream. Well, if you happen to be an insect, you aren’t going to do too much screaming to begin with, even if you can survive in space. In fact, there is just a small handful of organisms that are able to rough it out in a vacuum, and more often than not, the average fruit fly larvae is not going to be able to last in such an environment like us humans, which is why if it ever wants to travel in space, it would need to suit up just like an astronaut. Thing is, what would a fruit fly larvae “wear”? Enter this accidental discovery by researchers who managed to stumble upon what they call a “nanosuit” that envelopes insects, letting them survive in a vacuum, or space that is devoid of matter. This will be able to last not indefinitely, but for slightly more than an hour.
The bright minds over at the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Japan were actually studying a series of organisms under a scanning electron microscope, which requires subjects to be viewed in a vacuum because air molecules are and will distort the image. While majority of the organisms died within seconds after entering the torture chamber, nay, the microscope’s viewing chamber, the fruit fly larvae wriggled managed to wriggle without a care in the world, before maturing sans adverse effects.
This was due to the electron radiation that a scanning electron microscope relies in order to compile its images, where that combined well with a naturally occurring filmy layer all over the larvae’s surface. What resulted was a polymer, a nanosuit of sorts, that provided ample protection for the larvae from the adverse effects of vacuum.