There are many challenges that come with sending people into space, one of which is actually protecting the astronauts that are being sent there from issues such as radiation. Given that when in space, astronauts are not protected by the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, naturally we wouldn’t want them to come back irradiated.
So far, scientists have come up with various ways to protect astronauts from radiation while in space, but recently, researchers are exploring another method that you could almost call “organic”. This is by taking the fungi that grew following the Chernobyl reactor meltdown and use it as a possible shield of sorts for astronauts.
The reason for choosing Chernobyl fungi instead of regular fungi is because this particular fungus managed to grow and actually flourish despite being in a highly radioactive place. These are capable of not only absorbing radiation, but are able to take it and convert it into energy for their own use.
The idea is that astronauts could take small samples of the fungus with them on space missions, like that to Mars, and from there the fungus can then be further cultivated into a structure, allow it to thicken, and offer a layer of protection that is sustainable and to a certain extent, free of charge.