The fungi is known as Cryptococcus neoformans and it is actually dangerous for humans, where those who come into contact with it and who might have a compromised immune system, it could result in an infection known as cryptococcosis. However, scientists have found that due to the fungi containing high levels of melanin, it could be used as a way to help protect astronauts in space from radiation.
This is because melanin has the ability to absorb radiation and convert it into chemical energy, a process known as radiosynthesis. As a result of this, scientists are thinking that it is possible to extract the melanin from these fungi as a means of creating a more cost-effective sunscreen that astronauts can apply when they’re in space, to better protect themselves from radiation.
It has also been suggested that it could be applied on objects to make them more resilient against radiation as well. According to Radamés J.B. Cordero, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and also the lead researcher, “We know that space radiation is dangerous and that it damages matter. If you have a material that can act as a shield against radiation, it could not only protect people and structures in space but also have very real benefits for people here on Earth.”