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I, For One, Welcome Our New Tardigrade Overlords

7 Aug 2019, 07:28 UTC
I, For One, Welcome Our New Tardigrade Overlords
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

“One small step for (a) water bear, one giant leap for water-dwelling eight-legged segmented micro-animals.” —Teddy Tardigrade

Tardigrades are everywhere. And now they’re on the Moon [Public Domain]

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Because if you are, you’re thinking that exposing tardigrades to high-energy cosmic rays can only mean one thing: super-tardigrades. From Live Science:

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed into the moon during a failed landing attempt on April 11. In doing so, it may have strewn the lunar surface with thousands of dehydrated tardigrades, Wired reported yesterday (Aug. 5). Beresheet was a robotic lander. Though it didn’t transport astronauts, it carried human DNA samples, along with the aforementioned tardigrades and 30 million very small digitized pages of information about human society and culture. However, it’s unknown if the archive — and the water bears — survived the explosive impact when Beresheet crashed, according to Wired. Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer

Well, OK, as tough as they are, it’s probably unlikely that those microscopic explorers will re-hydrate any time soon before being hit by high-energy particles that will then endow the tiny guys with Marvel-like superpowers, but it’s nice to dream.

But what are tardigrades? Let’s go back to ...

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