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← Tardigrades: Water bears in space

Tardigrades: Water bears in space - Comments

Geoff 21's Avatar Comment 1 by Geoff 21

I find these in my Moss samples occasionally, under high magnification, and send them away to an enthusiast for classification. Even long-preserved material can have them.

Tue, 17 May 2011 19:07:01 UTC | #627577

ridelo's Avatar Comment 2 by ridelo

Pigs in space! Sorry, couldn't resist...

Tue, 17 May 2011 19:29:52 UTC | #627583

HardNosedSkeptic's Avatar Comment 3 by HardNosedSkeptic

Comment 2 by ridelo :

Pigs in space! Sorry, couldn't resist...

I wish you had.

Tue, 17 May 2011 19:53:21 UTC | #627598

Peter White's Avatar Comment 4 by Peter White

A face only a mother could love.

Tue, 17 May 2011 19:54:07 UTC | #627599

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 5 by El Bastardo

For the love of Wotan, no one tell PETA.

Tue, 17 May 2011 20:06:15 UTC | #627608

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 6 by justinesaracen

Jeez, ugly little things, aren't they? I thought at first they were some kind of inflated monster toys. Please don't tell me they live in my eyelashes or something.

Tue, 17 May 2011 20:09:44 UTC | #627610

Erik Andreas's Avatar Comment 7 by Erik Andreas

I wish I had me one of them electron microscopes! The microscopic world is pretty awesome.

Wonder how the holy books explain these phenomena.

Tue, 17 May 2011 20:37:40 UTC | #627627

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 8 by BigJohn

Comment 7 by Erik Andreas:Wonder how the holy books explain these phenomena.

God did it, of course!.

Tue, 17 May 2011 20:46:37 UTC | #627634

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 9 by rod-the-farmer

For a minute, I thought it was something discovered by Dr. Who.....

Tue, 17 May 2011 21:21:07 UTC | #627653

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 10 by alaskansee

@ rod

You mean a really lame Dr Who monster. Laughably fake for sure!

Tue, 17 May 2011 21:38:46 UTC | #627657

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 9 by rod-the-farmer :

For a minute, I thought it was something discovered by Dr. Who.....

My thought exactly when I first saw it. It also reminds me of that submissive animal from Hitchhiker's Guide. Looks a bit like a vacuum cleaner bag too.

Tue, 17 May 2011 21:59:21 UTC | #627661

mr_rybread's Avatar Comment 12 by mr_rybread

I wonder if Noah saved only two of these fellas?

Tue, 17 May 2011 23:14:44 UTC | #627693

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 13 by Michael Gray

Why could not this experiment be done just as effectively on Earth? It seems that this is just a very expensive publicity exercise for that white-elephant in LEO.

Wed, 18 May 2011 01:33:35 UTC | #627743

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 14 by Atheist Mike

I laughed, at first I thought it was an astronaut bear...with the suit and all that.

"Today NASA accomplished a great feat of human ingenuity, they have launched a bear into SPACE!"

Wouldn't that be hilarious?

Wed, 18 May 2011 02:06:38 UTC | #627752

NathanH's Avatar Comment 15 by NathanH

So... am I the only one who thinks it's just a little bit cute?

I wish I had my own electron microscope, too! I would love to see the world at this tiny level!

Wed, 18 May 2011 04:19:53 UTC | #627775

Southpaw's Avatar Comment 16 by Southpaw

Does anyone else think these little fellas look like a pig in a brown paper hazard suit?

Wed, 18 May 2011 07:05:04 UTC | #627795

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 17 by Rawhard Dickins

How did they get it to smile for the camera?

Wed, 18 May 2011 08:25:03 UTC | #627823

Erica's Avatar Comment 18 by Erica

I kinda want a cuddly-toy version...

ETA: Yaaayy, thanks, Google! (Not as cute as the real thing, though.)

Wed, 18 May 2011 09:12:50 UTC | #627842

Dave H's Avatar Comment 19 by Dave H

We need a control. Did it look like that before the experiment?

Wed, 18 May 2011 13:03:50 UTC | #627928

GodZilla's Avatar Comment 20 by GodZilla

If I remember correctly, NASA has already successfully revived micro organisms (virus and bacterias) that has been exposed to space for long period of times and had appeared to be dead. Here is a link where you can read about it -

I guess the water bears are different as they are larger than bacteria, but still microscopic.

Wed, 18 May 2011 13:41:45 UTC | #627946

Sarmatae's Avatar Comment 21 by Sarmatae

What we could learn from these creatures! They are tough little buggers. They can be found almost everywhere on the planet because of their cryptobiotic abilities.They show extraordinary tolerance to physical extremes. We could learn a lot from tardigrades about anhydrobiosis, for example. Where this may be helpful is in vaccines. Many vaccines must be refrigerated to be preserved. If we could figure out how to allow these vaccines, especially live vaccines, to survive being dried up the application is astounding. The vaccine would be able to be stored at room temperature in a suspended animation. It will become active when injected into the body. In essence making a dry vaccine. I don't have to point out how much of boon this would be, bringing needed vaccines to areas of the world where electricity and refrigeration are problematic.

People are saying they look ugly. Not that it's important but I find a certain pleasing aesthetic quality to them. You know, that picture has been altered by computer enhancement too? The colors and given that it is a capture of an electron microscope scan it is just the exterior surface. Tardigrades are somewhat translucent, you can see right through them. I look at them under my microscope now and again. Maybe they are ugly and I'm only seeing the beautiful potential within. Eye of the beholder and all that I guess.

Wed, 18 May 2011 16:23:38 UTC | #628025

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 22 by Nunbeliever

This creature actually looks like it's wearing a spacesuit ;-) Like a pig in a spacesuit...

Wed, 18 May 2011 17:47:09 UTC | #628063

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 23 by susanlatimer


Maybe they are ugly and I'm only seeing the beautiful potential within. Eye of the beholder and all that I guess.

I have to agree with you. I don't think they're ugly at all. They're wonderful to behold.

Wed, 18 May 2011 18:22:52 UTC | #628082

Veronique's Avatar Comment 24 by Veronique

Yes Erica cute as a button (only smaller, hahahaha).

Wasn't too impressed with the toys though. I want one for my desk looking exactly like it should.

I found this though:

We need a craftsperson!!!

Cheers V

Wed, 18 May 2011 18:33:44 UTC | #628089

skiles1's Avatar Comment 25 by skiles1

So, ultimately what we can take from this is that the intelligent designer made the conditions for life just perfect...for water bears. Therefore God is a water bear.

Thu, 19 May 2011 05:03:35 UTC | #628288

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 26 by alaskansee

@ comment 12 by mr_rybread

I wonder if Noah saved only two of these fellas?

Comment marked as excellent, or where they "in the same boat" as the fish of the sea? Please one of our resident theist can you answer this prickly question?

Thu, 19 May 2011 19:13:43 UTC | #628564

MrTicketyBoo's Avatar Comment 27 by MrTicketyBoo


Fri, 20 May 2011 12:47:55 UTC | #628760

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 28 by Reckless Monkey

Looks like you can plug in a vacume hose.

As for Noah saving two, I imagine like all the venerial diseases, pubic lice, and other bacertia, viruses, tape worms and what not, Noah and his family had to carry those personally. No wonder the first thing he did after a year at sea was plant a vineyard, then wait another few years and get pissed run around naked making a fool of himself and curse his son for laughing at him (the Mormons believe that this is were the blacks come from). If I was the sole inhabitant of the grand scope of human disease and parisites in human speices I'd be a little tetchy too (itchy also).

Fri, 20 May 2011 13:08:12 UTC | #628769

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 29 by Vicktor

Ah, yes. No flaw whatsoever can be found even in this tiny creature. Scientists are completely blown away by its perfection of design, and it will take them lifetimes to learn from it. Well, if this isn't evidence that we all have to pray 5 times a day, I don't know what is.

Fri, 27 May 2011 02:22:29 UTC | #631391