Tardigrades(Water Bears) – The Animals In Space

What are Water Bears?

Tardigrades are known collectively as water bears or moss piglets, which are phylums of small eight-legged animals. They were first described by German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773, who named them kleiner Wasserbär (“little water bear”). In 1777, Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani named them Tardigrada, meaning “slow-moving”.

Tardigrades are usually about 0.5 mm (0.02 in) long when fully grown. They are short and plump, with four pairs of legs, each ending with claws (usually four to eight) or pull discs. Tardigrades are mainly found in caves and crevices and feed on plant cells, algae and small invertebrates. Once collected, they can be viewed under a microscope, making them accessible to students and novice scientists.

How do they survive in the outer space?

Water Bears are one of the most fascinating creatures on Earth and the Moon. As WIRED reports, last year, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed on the Moon, spilling thousands of dehydrated tardigrades that scientists loaded onto the lander (along with human DNA samples).

Water Bears were in “tuned” form, a dormant state where they shrink into a ball, expel most of their body’s water, and reduce their metabolism through cryptobiosis until they can sustain life. Do not enter the environment better suited for. They can exist like this for decades. They are also very hardy and can tolerate the harshest environments, including subzero temperatures and crash lunar landings.

How does Tun State protect tardigrades?

In its dry state, the tardigrade is ridiculously, almost absurdly resilient. Laboratory tests have shown that tardigrades can tolerate both an absolute vacuum and intense pressure more than five times as much as a deep-sea pun. Even temperatures of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as -458 degrees Fahrenheit (exactly above zero) won’t spell destruction for the creature.

Researchers believe that this trehalose molecule not only replaces water, but may in some cases physically disrupt the crater’s remaining water molecules, accelerating them when hot and cold temperatures are encountered. prevents expansion. This is important, because the expansion of water molecules (like when you get frostbite) can mean immediate cellular death for most animals.

Why NASA is sending baby squid, water bears to the International Space Station?

After successfully discovering routes to aquatic plants in outer space, NASA is now ready to send 5,000 torpedo grades, also known as glow-in-the-dark baby squid and water bears, to the International Space Station.

The new set, which came to the Beyond Earth Orbit Flight Laboratory, pushes the cover on experiments to study how water bears tolerate extreme climates, whether microgravity affects symbiotic relationships, and the risk of kidney stones. Analysis of the structure.

Newcomers as part of the 22nd SpaceX Cargo Replacement Mission, which begins June 3.

As NASA returns to the moon and watches long space travel to Mars, aquatic animals will be able to help develop new animal strategies and improve defense measures for astronauts.

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