Hardy li'l critters will be first tested in open space

BoingBoing reader Bob says,

The world's toughest animal (see Boing Boing post from last year) has been sent into space. Tardigrades (aka Water Bears) can survive incredibly harsh conditions, including freezing to near absolute zero, extreme vacuum and radiation. Exposed to open space on the Russian FOTON M3 satellite, tardigrades are the first animals tested and perhaps the best candidate on earth for surviving space travel.

Link, Researchers' blog. Image: courtesy Willow Gabriel and Bob Goldstein.



  1. There must be a Doctor Who fan involved, because the research project is called Tardigrades In Space (TARDIS). I wonder how well tardigrades survive time travel…

  2. Oh great,
    They’ll mate with the galaxy’s toughest alien, create the universe’s toughest alien and come back and eat us all.

  3. holy crap those things are tough and with a name like Water Bears they are destined to take over. But like Neon, I’d rather not see them much bigger than 1.5mm.

    The meek shall inherit the Earth (or Galaxy).

  4. i remember these guys from high school biology…our assignment was to bring in pond water to see what was in it. every time i would get focused on an organism (paramecium, volvox, hydra, what have you) one of these guys would march in and eat it. hungry little buggers…

  5. Is this how we’re going to seed life on other planets and laugh at the Tardigrades’ descendants who support intelligent design but can’t quite get it right?

  6. anyone else remember that Aeon Flux episode where larger hardy looking creatures contain that magic forget-all pill in their back?

    It looked like a Tardigrade, didn’t it?

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