Animals Survive Experimental Exposure to Open Space

Biomedical Cosmology Science
Waterbear
Tardigrade. Source: Wikipedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike version 3.0.

Space.com reports that tiny 8-legged animals were able to survive in open space during an experiment performed on a European Space Agency spacecraft. Tardigrades, more commonly called water bears, are similar to the brine shrimp Sea-Monkeys.

The Foton-M3 spacecraft carrying the experiment was launched by the European Space Agency in September 2007 and exposed the creatures to the extreme environment of space. Many of the Tardigrades were able to withstand the exposure to vacuum, ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays.

The results of the experiment lend support to the panspermia hypothesis – that seeds of life may be able to travel between planets and throughout the universe by a number of possible mechanisms.

3 thoughts on “Animals Survive Experimental Exposure to Open Space

  1. Very interesting. So you mean like some trees target their seeds for airborne travel to other land masses, or like some sea plants that aim to send out their seeds across the ocean, there are actually life forms that target inter planet travel! Amazing thought.

  2. My understanding is that the travel through space is probably quite rare, but possible. One plausible way is through the impact of one celestial body on another, sending material into space. For example, there are a number of documented cases of meteors from Mars being discovered on Earth.

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