-FUPPETS- has discussed the tardigrades sent into low Earth orbit to test their survival capabilities in the near vacuum and radiation of space. Now, scientists are studying a very critical and exciting aspect of these "Water Bear's" incredible abilities. These tardigrades were subjected to a barrage of harsh tests.
First they were heated up to sizzling temperatures of 194 F (90 C). Then a
group was frozen at -321 F (-196 C). The next batch was given a dose of
radiation similar to what they would receive in space — around 4,000 times
stronger than that which would make humans ill. The last selection was covered
in a dissolving chemical (99.8% acetonitrile, a chemical which may be present in
In all these extreme tests the Tardigrades survived. The most exciting part is that these "water bears" appear to be able to repair molecular damage to their DNA and continue functioning as normal, even after undergoing a complete dehydration and suffering massive radiation exposure.
In humans, this type of radiation exposure would be lethal, and extremely painful. Studying these crazy animals will help us humans achieve our goals of travel through our Solar System and maybe between the stars.