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Fungi could hold the key to our travels in outer space, both in real life and science fiction.
On Star Trek: Discovery, a fictional astromycologist named Paul Stamets harnessed the power of cosmic fungi to power an entire spaceship.
Watch the Star Trek character describe his work here:
First of all, that’s a little far-fetched for most earth-bound mycologists, but he was inspired (and named after) a real-life mycological superhero–Paul Stamets.
In other words, Stamets describes how real-life fungal networks carry messages. The science-fictional mycologist then expands that idea into a cosmic concept.
Using a fictional mushroom called Prototaxites stellaviatori, the Star Trek Stamets explains how spaceships could use a cosmic mycelial network to travel vast distances:
“Its fungal roots, aka mycelium, spread across the universe, fanning out into infinity to create a matrix that serves as our intergalactic freeway system.”
In addition, if have high hopes for space travel and extraterrestrial contact, you should check out The Harmonic Convergence. It’s a ten-day meditation event dedicated to these consciousness-shifting concepts.
However, astromycology is a real-life scientific discipline! These scientists use fungi and the mycelium in fungi fto explore the mysteries of life. Scientists in this new discipline test how fungi can survive and thrive in outer space. They hope that someday, these discoveries will teach us how to survive in space.
An article in the Harvard Science Review explored the promise of this new science.
“In nature, it seems that mushrooms play an integral part in the cycle of nutrients breaking down lignin and other plant material … Perhaps one day, scientists will find a way of incorporating fungi to aid in production of fresh food out in space and degradation of biological waste; or maybe fungi will be used in the absorption of radiation.”
Finally, in Fantastic Fungi, you get to see Paul Stamets’ Star Trek character for a brief clip in the credits. Just like the fictional character, our film places great hope in the science of fungi.