The list of amazing features of tardigrades seems to be steadily growing. This time, researchers loaded it into a gun. And they survived. Up to a certain limit. What give us new leads for the search for life forms in our solar system.
Theare amazing little beings. They survive near freezing temperatures. . Just like at heat above 100°C. They support the vacuum of space. And even doses of radiation that would certainly kill us.
In 2019, ahad taken to the some of these measuring no more than a millimeter in length. With children’s drawings, a Bible, extracts from and even the secrets of some David Copperfield magic tricks. As part of a project to store humanity’s knowledge throughout the Solar System. But the probe in question had crashed on the Moon.
Were the tardigrades able to get out of the crash alive? This is the question that tormented some(UK). Not to know if the capsule which contained them had been able to remain intact, but if the tardigrades, in the capsule, had been able to survive the impact. To find out, the researchers conducted a funny experiment.
A New Look at Life in the Solar System
They placed about twenty tardigrades, a state in which their only operates at 0.1% of its normal activity. To achieve this, it was enough to put them in the freezer for 48 hours. But it is then that the experience takes an extraordinary turn. Since the researchers placed their tardigrades in hollow balls. Bullets they fired at increasing velocities from a gun designed to conduct experiments in !
Add “being fired out of a gun at high speeds” to the list of things tardigrades can survive.
Tardigrade Survival Limits in High-Speed Impacts—Implications for Panspermia and Collection of Samples from Plumes Emitted by Ice Worldshttps://t.co/9DLOeqN7fVpic.twitter.com/wHyIRftCRd
— MU-Peter Shimon (@MU_Peter) May 20, 2021
Result: the tardigrades survived impacts of bullets fired up to 900 m/s – or about 3,200 km/h. And toof shock up to 1.14 gigapascals (GPa). Beyond, the innocent little beings… have boiled! A conclusion that makes researchers say that the tardigrades on board Bereshit unfortunately did not survive. The impact pressure of the craft on the surface of the Moon is estimated to be well over 1.14 GPa.
This work also sheds new light on the question of aalien at the . The hypothesis of the . From the arrival of life on our planet following an impact of . According to the British researchers, this hypothesis is unlikely. But still not impossible. Especially in other circumstances. They imagine, for example, that pieces of rock torn from Earth could travel to the Moon at speeds low enough for tardigrades to survive. And even more so that subsist. Because previous studies have shown that the latter could withstand up to 5,000 m/s.
Thousands of tardigrades would have survived the crash of the Bereshit probe on the Moon
Last April, the Israeli probe Bereshit crashed on the Moon. On board, a thousand tardigrades. To this day, the fate of these reputedly nearly indestructible animals remains uncertain.
Article ofreleased on 08/10/2019
When it crashed on the Moon last April, thecarried on board a strange crew. A thousand tardigrades. Small arthropods barely measuring a millimeter long and capable of withstanding extreme living conditions. From so who may well have survived the .
Little risk, however, that theywithout our knowledge. Dehydrated when they boarded, they would be stuck in a so-called state of , understand a state of metabolic pause. But conditions more favorable to life could bring them out. Even if these must occur within several decades only.
Tardigrades potentially still alive
These tardigrades were part of the project developed by theArch Mission Fondation. Its ambition: to store theall over the solar system. Thus, a capsule had been integrated into the probe. It contained children’s drawings, songs, a Bible, the secrets of David Copperfield’s magic tricks and other information. As well as DNA extracts… and the tardigrades in question.
Based on their analyses, the researchers seem confident. The capsule should have emerged from the crash almost completely intact. And future missions could recover any tardigrades potentially still alive. Fortunately for theArch Mission Fondation, the Moon is not considered by NASA’s Planetary Protection Office as a site to be protected from possible contamination by living organisms.