'Water Bears' Survive Unprotected In Space
Tiny tardigrades, also called water bears are the first animals known to survive the pitiless rigors of space, including hard vacuum, cosmic rays, freezing cold and solar UV rays 1,000 times as strong as those experienced on Earth's surface.
(Tardigrades - water bears - survive rigors of space)
These microscopic animals - just 1.5 millimeters in size when full-grown - are found in lichens or moss, in soil, on mountaintops and in ocean floor sediment at depths of 13,000 feet.
"They have claws and eyes. They are real animals. And this is the first time such an animal was tested in space," said Petra Rettberg, an Institute of Aerospace Medicine microbiologist, who helped design a tardigrade containment system attached to the Foton-M3 satellite, launched last September by a consortium of national space agencies.
When no water is available, water bears enter an anhydrobiotic state, slowing their metabolism by a factor of 10,000. Two species of tardigrades — Richtersius coronifer and Milnesium tardigradum - were used in the experiment. Once in orbit, the tardigrade box on the side of the space capsule popped open, exposing the water bears to the rigors of space, unprotected by tiny space suits.
After ten days of exposure, the creatures were returned to earth, where results were gathered.
"We found that both species of tardigrades survived exposure to space vacuum alone very well, with no significant difference in survival pattern compared to ground controls," says astrobiologist Rettberg. "Samples exposed to the combined effect of vacuum and solar radiation had significantly reduced survival."
Fans of the sf series Farscape may recall the Luxans, a species able to survive unprotected exposure to the vacuum and radiation of space for about fifteen minutes.
Read more at Daily Mail and Scientific American; see also these details about Luxans. Thanks to Moira for another great scoop.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/12/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
NASA's LADEE Enters Lunar Orbit
'... dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.' - Hal Clement, 1956.
Nuclear Interceptors Designed For Planetary Protection
See NASA's concept for a nuclear interceptor.
SpaceX Grasshopper Divert Video
Isn't this the way that rocket ships were meant to land?
Ultrasonic Noise Betrays ISS Leaks
Gentlemen, Be Seated!
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
K5 Autonomous Data Machine The Future Of Mall Security
''Halt!' A robot guard appeared...'
RF Safe-Stop Shuts Cars Off
'...a police control-override.'
Army's New Bird-Like Surveillance UAV
'The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye...'
Honda's Tumblebug - The UNI-CUB beta
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'
NASA's LADEE Enters Lunar Orbit
'... dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'
3D Printing An Entire Car
"... Almost as good as the original it was printed from."
Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
'See Vee Threepio - Vee for versatility - at your service...'
Google's Skin Tattoo Lie Detector
'Three and a half centimetres in diameter, permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'
inFORM Dynamic Shape Output Device
Like that pushpin device you remember, but supercharged.
Owlet Vitals, The Future Of Baby Monitoring
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire...'
Robert Heinlein, Your Personal Electric Helicopter Will Be Ready In 2016
"They were half way home when a single flyer, hopping free in a copter harness, approached the little parade."
WildCat Runs Faster Than You, Untethered
'...moving with such drifting ease that it was like a single solid cloud of black-grey smoke blown at him in silence.' Almost.
HiBot's ACM-R5H Robot Video Shows Graceful Terminator-Style Swimming
'No! No! Aaaaaaarrrrrrgh!'
tDCS Jumpstarts Your Future
'We invented a scanner that can change the labyrinthine neural connections of the brain by tiny electronic impulses...'.
RealView Interactive Live Medical Holography
Surgeons can see an organ in its entirety in a live image.
Britney Spears And Lynn Minmay - Weapons Of Choice
An attack can take many forms.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories