Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's Alive! Toughest Creature On Earth Is Exposed to Space and Lived

This is one tough bug ... When the LHC reactor's black hole experiment goes awry and the whole Earth comes to an end tomorrow, we would all be dead and they will most likely survive.

Read : Wired : Invertebrate Astronauts Make Space History

You'd never guess that the millimeter-long tardigrade is the world's toughest animal, found from deep ocean to Himalayan mountaintops, able to survive at a single degree above absolute zero.

How tough are tardigrades? They require water to live, but in a pinch can drop their metabolism to a hundredth of normal and wait -- up to a decade if necessary -- until it's wet again. In this so-called cryptobiotic state they can shrug off lethal radiation doses and even the vacuum of space.

But for all that, if you've got a pond nearby, or even a patch of rocks and moss, you've probably got yourself some tardigrades. They're egalitarian as well as exceptional.

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