Terrible, terrible things would happen to us if we were exposed to the vacuum of space. But the tardigrade basically just sleeps 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?

Image: Tardigrade against black background

Courtesy of Nicolas Delille of Modern-Age-Studio

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!

Via: TED-Ed 2

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.

6 minutes

The Creature that Doesn’t Die?

Let us introduce you to the hydra. These remarkable little organisms appear to defy the laws of nature with their seemingly immortal lifespan! Here's the story on these strange creatures.

Read More

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!

14 minutes

Have a Question? Ask an Astronaut!

Want to know if you'll really get taller if you go to space? Or where we're at with warp speed? We know you definitely want to know what it smells like up there. Astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses all of this and more in this awesome video.

Read More

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“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!

Animals on EWC

Oh, and do you know the best way to stay up to date with what’s happening here at EWC? Subscribe!

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. “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.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.

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