This is my new favourite animal - the TARDIGRADE. It’s basically a microspcopic, less-than-a-millimetre-big water bear with eight legs that feeds on moss, and looks like a tiny hoover paper bag.
So why is it so awesome?
I’m not really into biological things, but this little guy survived for TEN DAYS IN SPACE. It is officially the first ever animal that has survived exposure to space, and is named the “hardiest animal on earth” (which is why I made such a witty title), and is nicknamed the water bear.
I know this information is kind of old, because this experiment was conducted by NASA in 2007, but I only just found out about it today. When tardigrades are in their cryptobiosis state, they can withstand extreme environmental conditions - and when I say extreme, I mean extreme:
1. In the 1920’s P.G. Rahm discovered that tardigrades can withstand temperatures from -273 degrees Celsius (which is really close to absolute zero) to +151 degrees Celsius. Tardigrades win.
2. Tardigrades can survive 1,000 times more radiation than any other animal on the planet, which is why it survived the solar winds in space. Tardigrades win.
3. Tardigrades are also extremely resistant to ionistaion - 570,000 roentgens (a unit for measuring radiation) are required to kill 50% of exposed tardigrades, while a human can survive a mere 500 roentgens. Tardigrades win.
4. Tardigrades can survive a decade without water. Humans can survive only for a few days. Tardigrades win.
5. Tardigrades are also resisitant to oxygen-deprived vacuums, which is another reason why it survived in space. Humans can survive without oxygen for only a few minutes. Tardigrades win.
And after the NASA experiment, the tardigrades retuned to earth and started reproducing again like nothing happened. This is what I call an awesome animal.