Tag Archives: water bears

(Water) bears… in… spaaaaace!

water bear (tardigrade)Maybe you took that recent opportunity to determine how long you personally would survive in the hard cold vacuum of space, but it’s a very safe bet that you didn’t rack up a whole ten days. [image from Wikimedia Commons]

That particular accolade goes to the tiny invertebrate animals known as “water bears” (or more correctly tardigrades). Examples of two species of the little critters were launched from Kazakhstan in a satellite and subsequently exposed to the vacuum for ten days, after which 68% were successfully rehydrated and went on to live exactly as normal. It appears they can take the vacuum in their stride, though the UV radiation is a bit of a problem.

I wonder if sea monkeys can survive in space? I remember my mum telling me that mine had to go away while I’d been at school… perhaps they went to catch a rocket in Kazakhstan? 🙁