Offspring for the "Space Fish" in the Übersee Museum

Offspring produced for the first time in the closed aquatic system


A minor sensation has been on display at the Übersee Museum in Bremen for the past four days or so: The “space fish”, which have formed part of the special “From Bremen to Distance Galaxies” exhibition for more than four weeks have produced offspring. The experimental module on display is now home to a baby fish measuring roughly 6 mm in length. This is the first time that fish have produced offspring in a closed aquatic eco-system and successfully prevailed over the cannibalistic members of their species. The module on display has been developed by OHB-System AG as a reference model for a space experiment, which OHB conducted on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (DLF) most recently on board the COLUMBIA Shuttle mission (STS-107) in January 2003.

What is C.E.B.A.S

With a water volume of 8.6 liters, C.E.B.A.S. will be the biggest aquarium that has ever been flown into orbit. This miniature ecosystem accommodates swordtails, small multicolored bream, water snails and plants that will ensure each other’s mutual survival in outer space. One of the objectives of the mission is to examine the impact of gravity on the development of ecosystems. For one thing, the findings will serve as a basis for fundamental research on the effects of gravity on the ecosystem of our earth. For another, studying aquatic life in conditions of weightlessness may provide valuable information for future missions to Mars. Further studies of the sensory organ for weightlessness are to provide knowledge of the mechanisms behind space and sea sickness.

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Günther Hörbst
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