Everybody's favorite adorably-monikered, microscopic invertebrate continues to prove that it's also one tough little "bear". Water bears*—long recognized as hardiest animals on Earth—can also, apparently, survive in the vacuum of space, according to a European Space Agency experiment published in the journal Current Biology.
But, before offering the inevitable welcome speeches to our water bear overlords, it's worth noting a couple caveats. First, these water bears weren't just hanging out in open space, wriggling around. Instead, they were in a dehydrated state—a sort-of mega-hibernation that allows water bears to go without water, and appear dead, for years, before being revived. In the video above, you can see a water bear drying out into a little nub, called a tun. But he revives after water floods the petri dish. It was tuns that went to space, not active water bears.
Second, the creatures didn't hold up nearly as well against the Sun, as they did against Space, itself. New Scientist explains:
Ultraviolet radiation, which can damage cellular material and DNA, did take its toll. In one of the two species tested, 68% of specimens that were shielded from higher-energy radiation from the Sun were revived within 30 minutes of being rehydrated. Many of these tardigrades went on to lay eggs that successfully hatched.
But only a handful of animals survived full exposure to the Sun's UV light, which is more than 1000 times stronger in space than on the Earth's surface.
Dried out, the bears can survive a cold vacuum just fine. But only a particularly feisty few made it past the UV exposure. Both pieces of information could prove useful, in the coming Water Bear Imperium.
*Also known by the equally darling nickname "Moss Piglets", and by the technically correct, but boring, title of "Tardigrades".
Princeton University psych prof Susan Fiske published an open letter denouncing the practice of using social media to call out statistical errors in psychology research, describing the people who do this as “terrorists” and arguing that this was toxic because of the structure of social science scholarship, having an outsized effect on careers.
Blue writes, “Peter Watts has be stricken with debilitating pain, loss of range of motion and motor control. Watts’ doctors remain baffled despite a battery of tests, and Watts has reached out to his fans to ask for their theories and ideas as to what might be causing his illness.”
Today, I’ve launched a very special Kickstarter with two friends, Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad. A year in the making (and many more years on our minds), the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition is the first vinyl release of the stunning golden phonograph record launched by NASA in 1977 aboard the Voyager spacecraft, one […]
If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the […]
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]