Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tardigrades survive in space

I'm sure I did a post on this once before, but I can't find it, and events today brought it to my mind. Tardigrades are strange little multilegged beasties with the ability to survive dehydration and other extremes by essentially curling into a little ball and shutting down like a robot turning itself off until conditions get better. A surprising entry on the list of "Things that WON'T kill Tardigrades" is exposure to outer space. Vacuum and solar/cosmic radiation should kill anything more complex than a basic microbe (or the Andromeda strain, for you Michael Crichton fans), but tardigrades have survived even those conditions. Oh, and nuclear radiation won't kill them either....

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