Wednesday 15 October 2014

Poralia rufescens

Image: NOAA Photo Library
TECHNOLOGY: Chinese scientists launch first living satellite into orbit.

Nicknamed Jellyfish, the new satellite was created by splicing together the genes of several organisms, including a slime mould, a fir tree and one of the lab technicians, into a genetic brew the scientists call their "secret sauce".

Image: NOAA Photo Library
After an initial growth period of almost a year, Jellyfish was finally put through a strict feeding and training regime. It now follows basic commands from ground personnel and will orbit for at least two or three years before starvation takes hold.

"It's an honour to be part of Jellyfish", said Yu Huan, the lab technician who had the honour of donating his genes to the project. "We have a very special connection. He talks to me sometimes. He's very clever."

Fine, you got me. Jellyfish really is a jellyfish.

It's Poralia rufescens, about 30 cm (a foot) across, apparently, and found in deep waters across the world. It seems to be most often spotted in the cold Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Image: NOAA Photo Library
It can spread its bell right out until it's utterly flat or close it up until it looks like a big balloon.

And that's all I know about it!

Image: NOAA Photo Library
These are some fantastic pictures, though. I love a good slab of craggy rock and it doesn't get much craggier than this.

I hope our little jellyfish is careful!


TexWisGirl said...

yup, the craggy rock steals the show.

Joseph JG said...

It glows! I want one in the middle of London for Christmas!