A study found that a self-replicating fungus found in the Chernobyl nuclear reactor absorbs ionizing gamma radiation. It is yet to be peer-reviewed.
American researchers Graham K. Shunk and Xavier R. Gomez have proposed a biological radiation shield. A new study, yet to undergo peer review, was published on the pre-print repository bioRxiv on July 17, 2020, and examines how a radiation-absorbing fungus - Cladosporium sphaerospermum - found in the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, the high-radiation spot on Earth, can help in working as a protective shield for astronauts in deep space.
According to them, this fungus mold is capable of absorbing harmful cosmic radiation on the ISS, and the Chernobyl fungus is self-replicating. The researchers set up a petri dish with two sides - on one side, a control containing no fungi, on the other, C. sphaerospermum. Underneath the petri dish was a radiation detector. For 30 days, the sensors measured radiation every 110 seconds. The proof-of-concept study showed that the fungi were able to adapt to microgravity and thrive on radiation. It was able to block some of the incoming radiation, decreasing the levels by almost 2%.
However, the study is yet to be peer-reviewed, and hence it cannot be said with certainty whether the fungi will effectively safeguard astronauts from radiation.