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How Does the Tiny Waterbear Survive In Outer Space?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the must-be-their-tiny-space-program dept.

Space 119

DevotedSkeptic sends this excerpt from SmithsonianMag: "The humble tardigrade, also known as a 'waterbear' or 'moss piglet,' is an aquatic eight-legged animal that typically grows no longer than one millimeter in length. Most tardigrades (there are more than 1,000 identified species) have a fairly humdrum existence, living out their days on a moist piece of moss or in the sediment at the bottom of a lake and feeding on bacteria or plant life. In 2007, a group of European researchers pushed the resilience of this extraordinary animal even further, exposing a sample of dehydrated tardigrades to the vacuum and solar radiation of outer space for 10 full days. When the specimens were returned to earth and rehydrated, 68 percent of those that were shielded from the radiation survived, and even a handful of those with no radiation protection came back to life and produced viable offspring. How do the little tardigrades survive such a harsh environment? Although amateur tardigrade enthusiast Mike Shaw recently made waves by postulating that the animals may be equipped to survive in outer space because they originally came from other planets, scientists are certain that the creatures developed their uncommon toughness here on earth."

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9.11.2000 Never Forget (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306585)

RIP WTC victims
RIP Pentagon victims
RIP US Constitution

Re:9.11.2000 Never Forget (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306601)

You got the date wrong, it was 2002!

How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

2.7182 (819680) | about 2 years ago | (#41306633)

It is FROM space.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306885)

rtfa

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306973)

While this does sound funny at first, I find it intriguing. Who knows?

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41307225)

While this does sound funny at first, I find it intriguing. Who knows?

While we probably can't know for certain, we can look around and notice no planet nearby that could have supported life that complex with the possible exception of mars.

Then we can look at the fact that only 68% survived a mere 10 days after being specially treated to do so.

Then we can speculate about the amount of time it might take for a blasted out chunk of mars to find its way to earth. Hundreds of years is my guess. Millions if it came from further.

We can further speculate what percentage would survive the journey and then survive a fiery entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Then we can set aside ALL of that speculation until there is ANY evidence of life on Mars more advanced than an accidental amino acid.

The inescapable preponderance of evidence is that it originated here. And simply because it can survive an odd experiment is no reason to speculate extraterrestrial origin.

Occam, guys, Occam.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307495)

"simply because it can survive an odd experiment is reason enough to speculate extraterrestrial origin."

FTFY

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | about 2 years ago | (#41307607)

Is it so hard to imagine that these things could have been formed on another planet, or even a non-planetary celestial object such as an asteroid, which then traveled near earth while carrying these critters,before breaking apart causing fragments to land on earth? After thousands of years of life on earth evolution caused them to lose some of their space-rigidity which is why they now only fare a 60% chance of survival. Perhaps their survival has little bearing on the duration of their space travel; it could be like hdd failings, where if an hdd makes it past a certain point in usage then it's probability of premature failure is slim. Thoe 60% that survived may have been able to survive 100 days.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41309005)

Is it so hard to imagine that these things could have been formed on another planet, or even a non-planetary celestial object such as an asteroid, which then traveled near earth while carrying these critters,before breaking apart causing fragments to land on earth?

To the contrary. It's too easy to come up with such theories. It's a bit like getting pregnant. You can do it easily enough, but are you willing to take responsibility for the result?

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41309853)

Except these creatures have Earth DNA and clearly evolved here.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about 2 years ago | (#41310295)

It's possible to imagine that. It's also possible to imagine a magical bearded man camed and planted them, and Noah saved them on a boat. It's possible to imagine an alien species with the same sort of DNA as us, and same mitochondria.

It's just one FUCK of a lot more likely that they evolved here on earth!!

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

tofarr (2467788) | about 2 years ago | (#41311607)

Wouldn't their extra terrestrial origin be evident in their DNA?

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (3, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | about 2 years ago | (#41307627)

Occam, guys, Occam

Mod +1 for random reference to The Critic.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41308481)

How do we know that through their evolution they didn't lose their ability to last even longer out there than they do now?

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41308725)

How do we know humans didn't lose their second head when they hitchhiked here from Betelgeuse?

OCCAM!

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41309143)

It's a serious question. Remember how once upon a time we could eat raw meat?

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41309197)

You mean in the same way we still can? There are entire fad diets out there based on cooking being bad for you. The only reason we live better on cooked meat is that it kills parasites and lets us store the food longer without spoiling.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41309361)

Right, the defenses just aren't there anymore. Weird how you wrote this like it's a rebuttal.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#41309803)

You mean in the same way we still can? There are entire fad diets out there based on cooking being bad for you. The only reason we live better on cooked meat is that it kills parasites and lets us store the food longer without spoiling.

Cooking makes it much much easier for your body to extract energy and nutreants from the food.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41310047)

Occam, guys, Occam.

Please take something for that cough
           

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41311849)

Plus, why would it use the same DNA -->RNA --> codons --> amino acid -->protein scheme and language that the rest of us use?

I can suspend my disbelief for Star Trek etc that all these other alien races would breathe 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, and some trace CO2, would be humanoid, and could all speak English. When they started talking about aliens having DNA sequences, that was really questionable. But I could ignore it for the episode.

Trying to pretend it's possibly real though for real species and acting like that's real science? Get the fuck out.

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#41311853)

The other major line of evidence that for the water bear evolving here on Earth is that it is structured in a way more or less identical to the rest of Terran life. That is: it has cells, DNA, RNA, all of which have the same chemical structure as the rest of life on Earth. One could hypothesize several things based on this observation:
  1. 1) that the structure and chemical mechanisms of life on Earth are the same elsewhere in the universe (or vice versa), including the water bear's extraterrestrial origin. I.e., maybe the way it's done on Earth is the only successful way to structure life.
  2. 2) the water bear, or its ancestral brethren not too dissimilar from today, were the source of all life on Earth (panspermia, but with the water bear as the initial seed), or
  3. 3) the water bear evolved on Earth, using Earth's template for how to structure and reproduce life. This hypothesis takes no stand one way or the other on extraterrestrial life.

Which of these three is the most plausible, explains the most natural phenomena, and is confounded by the least contradicting evidence? I would argue (3).

Re:How does the water bear survive in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311951)

True, but imagine a large chunk of lake bed rock/sediment that was blasted into space by a meteor hitting Mars eons ago. The surface of the lake bed could have been encapsulated by other debris, loosely trapping moisture. While the sun would heat the debris up, enough moisture could have been available throughout the entire trip to sustain microbial life even through re-entry into earth, which at that time the earths atmosphere may have been a lot thinner than todays' atmosphere...

There's a lot of ifs, of course and this is merely a thought, but you never know unless you saw the dawn of life on Earth billions of years ago.

It's just cool to think about sometimes.

Wisdom of Crowds (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41307789)

In the end, you folks got it right.

Re:9.11.2000 Never Forget (1)

ExploHD (888637) | about 2 years ago | (#41308189)

You got the date wrong, it was 2001

Re:9.11.2000 Never Forget (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306617)

RIP Anonymous Cowards - our days are numbered!

Re:9.11.2000 Never Forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307173)

RIP Anonymous Cowards - our days are numbered!

So there is some small blessing to the complete loss of liberty!

Re:9.11.2000 Never Forget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306907)

If you were a real patriot, right now you'd be jumping up and down, tugging your crotch, and bellowing, "911! 911! USA! USA! Support the troops! We fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here! WMDs!".

USA! USA! USA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307115)

Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Whoo! Yeah! Fuck, yeah! Whoo! USA! USA! USA! Whoo! Fuck, yeah! USA! USA! USA! Yeah! Whoo! Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! USA! USA! USA! Yeah! Whoo!

[Spoken like a True, Red-blooded, God-fearin' American Patriot.]

Just like this post survives. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306591)

It is my immortal print on the internets! Stays on for ever....even though men may come and men may go.

Ummm.. (1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41306675)

Shouldn't "amateur tardigrade enthusiast Mike Shaw" read "complete fucking moron Mike Shaw"?

Re:Ummm.. (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 2 years ago | (#41306701)

He must be related to Egon Spengler, who collects spores, moulds, and fungus.

I thought that was RMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307553)

spores, molds and fungus collect on him

Extreme Dehydration (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41310043)

Yes, I did read TFA - both of them

I was interested in the level of "dehydration" those creatures were being put through before were sent to space

TFA #1, from Smithsonian Magazine, only mentioned "dehydration", but it did provide a link to the cell magazine summary, where it is mentioned that the "waterbears" were put through "extreme dehydration"

Hmm....

How extreme is extreme dehydration?

To what I know, all living things, whether it be plants, microbes, animals, had to have H2O inside the cell structures (DNA/RNA) to keep alive

If the cells dried up, the cell walls will crumble, and once the cell walls collapsed, that's it, baby, asta- lavista !

So back to the "extreme dehydration" claim on the cell magazine's summary --- just how "extreme" is the "extreme dehydration" ?

Does it cause permanent cell wall collapse?

I guess, in the case of the "waterbear", the "extreme dehydration" isn't absolute - which means, the "waterbear" may have a built-in valve structure, to lock enough H2O inside its body to keep the body at least at a minimum level (kind of deep hibernation)

But anyway, this findings is a plus for all. If we can find out how the waterbear locks in H2O, maybe we too can modify our human body structure and can survive without water for a prolong period.

Re:Extreme Dehydration (1)

aurispector (530273) | about 2 years ago | (#41310887)

Barking up the wrong tree. Analyze the DNA. If it codes for amino acids the same way as the rest of us the argument is over before it begins.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 2 years ago | (#41306857)

why moron? it's not that far-fetched to postulate that some creatures here may have come from elsewhere..

Re:Ummm.. (2)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 years ago | (#41307055)

why moron? it's not that far-fetched to postulate that some creatures here may have come from elsewhere..

Actually it is. I'm not a biologist (INAB?) but I think all species down here on Terra all interrelate in some way. We all have RNA/DNA, etc etc. No, I don't know enough to know what I'm talking about with authority, but our species are all adapted to our planet.

It's not impossible that
a) an outer-space species could exist
b) it would get here
c) it could live and thrive here
- but it is far-fetched.

Re:Ummm.. (2)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#41307287)

Just those three stipulations alone don't make it that far fetched. Exogenesis, the hypothesis that all life on Earth originally comes from somewhere else, is legitimate. What would make the claim far-fetched is adding:
d) it would appear so similar to other life on Earth that biologists with morphological and molecular studies think they can place roughly where it fits in the phylogeny of all other life on Earth
e) it does not decend from the same root species as every other known species on Earth

Re:Ummm.. (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 2 years ago | (#41307491)

But the fact that most of the species are killed with only 10 days exposure to space radiation makes it very, very, very unlikely.

10 days is a uselessly small exposure time when thinking of the amount of time needed to travel the vast distances between stars.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#41307689)

For those specific species yes, it would seem incredibly unlikely they caught a ride on an asteroid or somesuch. But for an ancestor a few hundred billion generations back? Who knows?

Re:Ummm.. (2)

Havenwar (867124) | about 2 years ago | (#41309263)

True. Bet's let's simplify that for you by reducing it to opposing hypothesis:

Your hypothesis is that an alien species incredibly hardy travelled through space to land on earth, managed to survive by competing with the existing lifeforms, but somehow slowly devolved into a microscopic eight legged bear.

Assumptions made: There is life in space, such life travels, it somehow found this particular tiny speck in the outer parts of the galaxy, it wasn't hardy enough to trump other life on earth, it is similar enough to other life on earth that we can't tell the difference scientifically other than by its hardiness... I'll take a break here, feel free to go on by yourself as an exercise in critical thinking.

Opposing hypothesis is that somehow a species on earth evolved to be extraordinarily hardy.

Assumptions made: Evolution is real.

Now, let's apply Occam's razor here, and cut away the hypothesis that makes the most assumptions. What's left? Sanity!

Oh, and as a bonus point, personally I'd make the assumption that tiny eight legged bears that scientists finds fascinating enough to pay to bring to fucking space for experiments have probably been researched quite a lot in every other possible way, and found to be quite in line with current understanding of what a terrestrial being is.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

Spaseboy (185521) | about 2 years ago | (#41309707)

Your assumption is that life on Earth is the standard by which to measure all life. There is every bit the possibility that life on Earth is actually incredibly fragile and that the norm is "hardiness"...

I didn't read the article but you don't think it is possible that a cataclysm destroying a planet could send fragments containing this life form's ancestor hurtling into space? You're acting like it left of its own accord.

Occam's razor would actually lead one to think that because we have so little knowledge of life on our own planet, we don't have enough data to speculate about life on other planets. That's actually the simplest explanation.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

Havenwar (867124) | about 2 years ago | (#41309721)

Sure. So let's avoid speculating on life on other planets. We know life on our planet exists, that it evolves, and that this particular little critter is on earth, and shares the same biological makeup as other life on the planet.

So the simplest explanation as you put it, still says we should assume it's terrestrial in origin. Anything else would require more assumptions, and less likely events.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307405)

It is astronomically improbable that any animals / mini-bears / life known on Earth comes from somewhere else, unless we all were descended from some very early off-Earth starter version all life on earth some 1.5 Billion years or so ago when Earth atmosphere chemistry started changing. Like the Drake equation (but with much larger numbers), all life on this planet uses left handed DNA (%50), right handed sugar chemistry (%50), 4 nucleotides (AGCT - %??) encoding triplets (%??) (64 of them) that code for just 20 amino acids (1.5x10^84 possible lineups times the 20 out of thousands of possible amino acids which is even larger). Given that there are thousands of possible amino acids and these 20 are the ones used for life, and that the RNA codon table is arbitrarily chosen, it's like picking up two completely random shuffled decks of cards and having every card match, then reshuffling and doing that again. We find genetic relatives buried hundreds of feet below the surface in the most remote corners of this world. Add gene similarity across the board and you've got a very strong single origin of life on earth genesis theory.
I'd venture to guess...
a) most probably outer-space species do exist.
b) they are very far away and it would be extremely unlikely that they would accidentally get here.
c) even more unlikely to survive the trip.
d) would have a completely different coding base, even in the unlikely event that they shared the same chemistry.

The only solid proof of alien life IMHO is to find a new viable genetic code base. Slightly different chemistry or hardiness to extreme environments isn't enough.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41307455)

Unless the species originally evolved on Mars when it was still a wet world, and then was ejected by meteorite impact to this world. Even NASA has postulated the possibility.

Re:Ummm.. (2)

slowLearner (2498468) | about 2 years ago | (#41307965)

So it had to survive a catastrophic event that threw it on a piece of rock out of the atmosphere of Mars into an orbit that brought it to Earth within the allotted number of days for it to survive and then survive entry into the Earth's atmosphere, which no matter how you spin it would involve the subject going from very,very cold to very, very hot, very, very quickly. To survive all that and land some place where there is food and beside a mate.
I really think it would need an infinite improbability drive to do all that.

Re:Ummm.. (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41309163)

Even NASA has postulated the possibility....

...of single celled organisims hitching a ride from Mars to Earth. We are talking about a complex multi-celled creature here, it's a very different proposition. I find the whole "panspermia" argument pointless, the Earth is made of the same stuff the rest of the solar system is made of, sure organic chemicals, large chunks of ice and maybe even single celled creatures rained down on the early Earth from space, that stuff just made the Earth a bit bigger, it was fundementally no different to the existing material. I think it comes from the idea that life is incredibly unlikely and only started in one place at one time, modern evidence says that notion is just a sciencey rebadging of the genesis myth.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41310823)

I think all species down here on Terra all interrelate in some way

Without studying life on other planets we can't rule out the possibility that species there also interrelate with our species.

Re:Ummm.. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41307573)

It's extremely far fetched to hypothesize that any life form that shares our genetic code does not share a common ancestor with us.

Re:Ummm.. (1)

Spaseboy (185521) | about 2 years ago | (#41309293)

Ugh! Why do you keep insisting that the Earth is not the centre of the universe, Copernicus! It has been proven by both God and Science that Everything revolves around God's pinnacle of creation!

Because (2)

Brainman Khan (1330847) | about 2 years ago | (#41306695)

It has Electrolytes

Isn't it obvious? (2)

Attack Parakeet (2510508) | about 2 years ago | (#41306711)

They're related to the TARDIS.

Eight-legged bear. (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41306739)

Yuh-huh.

Re:Eight-legged bear. (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#41306965)

Sounds almost like a ManBearPig to me.

In best Homer Simpson voice... (1)

MoGrapher (2658463) | about 2 years ago | (#41308579)

SpiderBear, SpiderBear. Does whatever a SpiderBear does!

Sounds like my mother-in-law. (5, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#41306843)

I meant that in a nice way.

We Hug in Peace? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41306887)

Although amateur tardigrade enthusiast Mike Shaw recently made waves by postulating that the animals may be equipped to survive in outer space because they originally came from other planets ...

Tardigrade Captain: Okay over there, bring the ship down in that clearing, it looks like there's some specimens there on that asphalt path.
*the Tardigrade craft lands in Time Square and the well armed two meter tall Tardigrades disembark*
Tardigrade Captain: Oh, for the love of Ursa Major! How ugly these specimens turned out! Look at that one!
*the Tardigrade captain gestures toward an Earth female with her jaw agape*
Tardigrade Captain: Ewww, what is this on top of them?
*the Tardigrade captain reaches for the girls hair with his second set of appendages while the first set rubs saliva down his mouth onto his chest and his tertiary set scratches himself*
Tardigrade Officer: *runs a device over the woman* Some sort of fibrous material sir ... apparently dead organic material ...
*the Tardigrade captain withdraws his appendages in terror*
Tardigrade Captain: Oh for fuck's sake, another experiment ruined. Gross. GROSS. All of them just gross as all hell! Alright, everybody back on the ship, you know the drill, take off and nuke 'er from orbit ...
Tardigrade Officer: But ... but sir, this colony may be lacking light speed travel but our sensors show a plethora of cultural phenomena -- aggregates of which exist right here in this very metropolis!
Tardigrade Captain: You know Jerry, it's always something with you, isn't it? 'Mew mew mew, this civilization has eliminated all evil. Blah blah blah this civilization is one million years old, isn't that worth something?' Now this is the 174th failed experiment we've checked up on and I ...
*just then an advertisement for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo [youtube.com] blares across the Times Square display -- the stupefied Tardigrades watch*
Tardigrade Officer: I'll push the button this time.

Re:We Hug in Peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307079)

Hey I'll push the button if nobody else does ... far as I'm concerned this place needs a RESET ... fast.

Re:We Hug in Peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307185)

I think it would be a good book idea, and you could get the funding on Kick Starter.

Re:Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307235)

my god man, wtf is that crap, and then they wonder why the rest of the world looks down on America nowadays.

Re:We Hug in Peace? (1)

bfwebster (90513) | about 2 years ago | (#41307281)

Funniest thing I've read today. Thanks. :-)

Re:We Hug in Peace? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41308027)

I don't watch TV anymore, and watching that reminded me precisely why.

One thing to keep in mind... think about a person of average intelligence (not talking IQ, just general intelligence) and then realize that if that's the average, half of them are worse than that.

And next time you post a link to something like that, please include a warning. Something along the lines of NSFB (not safe for brain) would work.

Disclaimer: Please disregard any spelling or grammatical errors... my brain is still recovering from that experience.

Re:We Hug in Peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41309085)

if that's the average, half of them are worse than that.

Only if the average is equal to the median.

Re:We Hug in Peace? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41309205)

You forgot to add in your disclaimer that you are plagerizing George Carlin's jokes.

Re:We Hug in Peace? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#41309405)

I don't watch TV anymore, and watching that reminded me precisely why.

Wait. You don't watch TV anymore, but you watched that?

Why?

Re:We Hug in Peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310627)

The most interesting thing is that the alien Tardigrade Crew speaks English...

Re:We Hug in Peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311651)

You sir deserve an award!

Water bear? Seriously? (2)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about 2 years ago | (#41306897)

This brings a new meaning to the old Royal Guardsmen song 'Bears':

[third verse]
While swimming in your pool try not loose your cool
And be drown-ded... by a Water-Bear!

Citation: http://lyrics.wikia.com/The_Royal_Guardsmen:Bears [wikia.com]

Better Title (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41306959)

"Scientists believe Water Bears from space have made habitat on earth."

Re:Better Title (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41307371)

Random dude believes Water Bears from space have made habitat on earth."

FTFY

Seems kind of obvious (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#41307053)

Being dragged out of your home and subjected to solar radiation and a vacuum?

I expect they live only for revenge.

Re:Seems kind of obvious (5, Interesting)

dzfoo (772245) | about 2 years ago | (#41307169)

I hear you. And most worrisome is that we may have endowed them with super powers by exposing them to cosmic radiation in outer space!

- "What's the status on those wriggly buggers?"
- "Tardigrades? Well, sir, against all odds and expectations, some of them managed to survive. They're even breeding!"
- "Really? Even the ones exposed to cosmic radiation?"
- "Even the ones exposed to cosmic radiation, yes."
- "Wow! They're even more resilient than we thought!"
- "You could even say, indestructible..."
- "Amazing."
- "Sir, what should we do with them now?"
- "We bring them back to Earth and watch them breed and see what happens from there...
- "Aye! Aye! What could possibly go wrong?"

Re:Seems kind of obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41308203)

Their revenge is particularly terrifying because now part of them are invisible, some are bendy, few are fiery and that one poor bastard is rocky.

OK, now what? (4, Funny)

Third Position (1725934) | about 2 years ago | (#41307101)

Now that we know they can survive in extreme environments, what do we do with 'em? I suppose they could dump a few payloads of them on Mars or Venus and wait a few million years while evolution takes it's course....

Re:OK, now what? (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 2 years ago | (#41307411)

Whats this evolution you speak of? Everyone knows that you should pray for god to create life on mars and then it will happen, DUH!

Re:OK, now what? (1)

SugokuAtsui (2728009) | about 2 years ago | (#41308851)

Zinger, that. If you can't throw spit off the truck, then what's the upside?

These little buggers will just evolve into a new dietary choice for the Martians, who will then thank us profusely. I mean, right now, they can eat rust, and ... uh... rust. Limited menu. They'll love us. Might even stop them from shooting back at our rover when it does the laser science thing.

I say, launch 'em!

Re:OK, now what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310403)

Sure! We'll see how long it takes them to figure out how to breed while freeze-dried, to eat basalt and iron oxide, to breathe carbon dioxide...

My guess is: a very very very long time...

He's not saying it was aliens ... (2)

asifyoucare (302582) | about 2 years ago | (#41307231)

... but it was aliens.

Apologies to Isaac Watts and Lewis Carroll (3, Informative)

Waterbearlang (2727933) | about 2 years ago | (#41307273)

How does the tiny Waterbear
Survive in Outer Space
By dehydrating all the while
And wrinkling its face!

How bravely she can abide
Extremes of cold and heat
Take it all in stride so gallantly
With its graceful, nimble feet!

In works of art or science free
And open source, no fool
She teaches children how to code[1]
Because Waterbear is cool.

So cute, so humble, so robust
Waterbear is da boss
But all she really wants from life
Is a comfy home of moss.

[1] Shameless plug: http://waterbearlang.com/ [waterbearlang.com]

don't forget the song (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307289)

Waterbear by Mal Webb youtube [youtube.com]

My God, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307301)

it's full of tards.

So when... (-1, Troll)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#41307325)

...do the tree huggers come out to force protectionism legislation for these creatures down our throats? Worse, watch it come out that a healthy waterbear population is the only thing between the earth and global warming, and diorama enthousiasts are decimating the population becuase of all the moss they use.

who comes up with this shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307337)

seriously, who sits around all day on their scientist wellfare job and comes up with "lets expose this to space and see what happens for a few billion dollars of expense"

jesus, we can create a vacuum and radiation here on earth! besides that, what did we learn, fuck all nothing, and does anyone give a shit ... no.

colonize mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307477)

send a shipful of them to mars and let them colonize...

And I thought roaches were hard to kill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307529)

ba-dum ching

It eats tiny watersalmon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307535)

b'da bing

Classic (3, Funny)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | about 2 years ago | (#41307559)

Dashing and daring
Courageous and caring
Faithful and friendly
With stories to share
Taaaaaardibears!

Re:Classic (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41310339)

Well played, worthy adversary. Well played.

Newsflash!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41307911)

Bugs are rather tough critters....yeah I know the tardigrade isn't a "bug" in the insect sense, but it is a "bug" in the common man's language sense.

Re:Newsflash!!!! (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41310333)

given its eight-leggedness, I would venture that it's a bug in the arachnid sense.

Re:Newsflash!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311705)

...and you would be venturing incorrectly.

It's obvious. (2)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#41308459)

A Tardigrade is a retrograde TARDIS and everyone knows that a TARDIS can handle outer space.

Re:It's obvious. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41310021)

That was truly reTarded, no grade for you :-)

Tardigrade? Oh you and your metric system! (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 2 years ago | (#41309533)

What's the equivalent in ye olde inches?

Re:Tardigrade? Oh you and your metric system! (1)

hattig (47930) | about 2 years ago | (#41310175)

Tardigrad. There are 2.16 Imperial Tardigrads in a metric Tardigrade.

Of course there is a disparity between Imperial and US "English" measurements, as there are actually 2.58 English Tardigrads in a metric Tardigrade.

Radiation in Outer Space? (1)

wadeal (884828) | about 2 years ago | (#41309877)

So let me get this straight... When you put these super resilient creatures in space with no protection from radiation most of them die. But if you send comparatively weak men to the moon where they're exposed to the exact same radiation they all survive and none died soon after from cancer? Makes sense...

Re:Radiation in Outer Space? (1)

pne (93383) | about 2 years ago | (#41310723)

So let me get this straight...

When you put these super resilient creatures in space with no protection from radiation most of them die.

But if you send comparatively weak men to the moon where they're exposed to the exact same radiation they all survive and none died soon after from cancer?

Makes sense...

You missed the bit with "no protection from radiation". The space suit isn't just there to keep air inside it.

Tardigrades have it good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310167)

Most tardigrades (there are more than 1,000 identified species) have a fairly humdrum existence, living out their days on a moist piece of moss or in the sediment at the bottom of a lake and feeding on bacteria or plant life.

Most nerds (there are more than 1,000 identified breeds) have a fairly humdrum existence, living out their days in a dark basement or in the sediment at the bottom of a pile of pizza boxes and feeding on mountain dew and cheese-its.

made me wonder about these things... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41310325)

...as I was dropping them in liquid nitrogen at college and watching in amazement as they shrugged off the frost and carried on

pedowaterbear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41312191)

I'm never letting my kids in the water again.

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