Introducing Sherrian Felix (@Skyefx2) as our first guest writer.
Who would have thought that natures’ toughest creature would be 1 mm (0.0393 in.) long (when fully grown) and require the use of a microscope just to see it. I was instantly intrigued the first time I heard about it and wanted to know more. Here are some super cool facts about this amazing creature.
Meet the Tardigrade, also known as the water-bear or moss piglet. This cute little fella can survive in the most extreme conditions, withstanding temperatures from near absolute
zero to well above the boiling point of water and can survive X-ray radiation 1000 times the human lethal dose.
How is this possible you may ask? In severe conditions, these guys are capable of reversibly suspending their metabolism and going into a state of cryptobiosis. Basically they shrivel up and die…but not really. Once conditions become favorable, soaking them in water is key to their resurrection. It has been reported that Tardigrades have successfully recovered from a dried-up piece of moss kept by a museum for 120 years.
This super power has earned these extremophiles the reputation of being one of the toughest creatures around, and secured them a trip to outer space. In 2007 they were aboard the FOTONM3 spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), and was reported to not only survive the trip, but got a clean bill of health upon their return to earth.
Pretty cool huh? Interested in finding these little buggers? They can be found just about anywhere, but their favorite hang out spots are mosses and lichens.