The tardigrade, better known as a ‘water bear’, has become my new favorite animal.
Why, you may ask? What makes them so special? How are they better than my favorite animal?
Simple. Your favorite can’t survive in the vacuum of space.
From Discover Magazine:
Tiny invertebrates known as water bears are in one sense far tougher than humans who can crush hundreds of them underfoot: A new study has shown that the water bears can survive the vacuum and radiation of space. The water bears, who are more properly known as tardigrades, were launched into orbit aboard a European Space Agency satellite, where they were exposed for 10 days to the cold, low pressure, and intense radiation of space before being brought back down to Earth to study.
Researchers already knew that water bears were unusually tough critters. [T]hey prefer to spend their days in water, perhaps on a beach or a dewy patch of moss. But when the water dries up, the millimetre-long ‘bears’ can contract into a dried-out state and survive like that for years. They are also one of the few animals that survive year-round on continental Antarctica, and are among the most radiation-resistant animals known [Nature News].
Not only that, but they’re just so darn cute!
And for you creationists out there, I have just one question. If god intelligently designed humans, why didn’t he give us the power to survive in space?
The extra limbs would come in handy too.