Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Aliens: just add water

Hardygrades: Space survival

Tardigrades (aka: 'water bears' or 'moss animals')are the coolest animals. There ability to resist one of the plagues of corporeal life--namely dying--boarders on science fiction:

...Most living things cannot survive in space, though a few hardy bacteria and some lichen can do so for a while. Now, however, an animal has been found that can venture outside without a space suit. Ingemar Jonsson at Kristianstad University in Sweden, and his colleagues, have managed to send tardigrades, a small invertebrate animal less than 1mm long, out into space and back again...They exposed some to the vacuum of space. After these animals had been brought back and rehydrated, scientists found no difference in their survival and reproduction rates compared with tardigrades that had stayed back at home...

There's lots of good Tardigrade links out there. My fav tells you how to collect them. You do need a low-power microscope, 30-40 is a good mag. You'll be really able to study them at about 100x.


Anonymous said...

Are they anything like "sea monkeys?" Remember those?

Livia Indica said...

Holy shit! That is freaky and awesome! Makes me think it's very likely that there are lifeforms floating around in space or on other planets.