Terrible, terrible things would happen to us if we were exposed to the vacuum of space. But the tardigrade basically just slept through it.
These microscopic creatures can survive a stint on the outside of a satellite floating in space (and even reproduce out there 1), boiling hot temperatures, the coldest of cold, and high amounts of radiation and pressure… but how?
You’ve already met this little friend, sometimes adorably called a moss piglet or water bear, but you probably didn’t notice them. Since the tardigrade has an ability to survive basically everywhere on this planet (and outside of it) if you took a microscope into your backyard, you’d probably find a few of them hanging out!
It seems their secret to survival in extreme situations lies in what they do when water is scarce. A little thing called suspended animation occurs, preserving their internal structures and keeping them alive in these environments for years until they’re rehydrated.
This wonderful (and very cute) animation from TED-Ed gives us a closer look at these little moss piglets!
It’s amazing what we could possibly learn from these creatures less than 1.5mm long!
Hold on a second, there’s yet another animal the doesn’t seem to die.
Have you heard of hydra?
We wrote about these extraordinary creatures a little while back! Take a look.
And if you’re wondering what would happen to us in space…
This article features an interview with the astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, who describes exactly what would happen to our bodies if we tried to do what the tardigrade did!
Stay open to new possibilities!
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein
Want to meet more of the amazing creatures who call this planet home?
A few have gathered here!
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- Fox-Skelly, Jasmin. “Earth – Tardigrades Return from the Dead.” BBC, BBC, 13 Mar. 2015, www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150313-the-toughest-animals-on-earth. Accessed 1 Aug. 2018. ↩
- “Meet the Tardigrade, the Toughest Animal on Earth – Thomas Boothby.” YouTube, TED-Ed, 21 Mar. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxndOd3kmSs. Accessed 1 Aug. 2018. ↩