KOMPAS.com – Tardigrades or water bears are known as microscopic animals that have the ability to adapt to several extreme conditions. For example, it is resistant to freezing temperatures, dehydration and even vacuum.
Now to find out how strong the tardigrade can withstand certain conditions in outer space, researchers conducted quite an extreme experiment, firing the creature with a high-speed pistol.
Quoting Science Alert, Thursday (20/5/2021) tardigrades can be found everywhere globally, both in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Unsurprisingly, these little creatures are able to survive in absurd conditions.
Also read: New Finds, Nearly Immortal Creatures of Tardigrade Resistant to Deadly UV Radiation
When conditions get worse, tardigrade can dry out, reset the body, and enter a state of suspended animation for years.
You can throw tardigrades anywhere from freezing temperatures, zero oxygen, high pressure, vacuum to cosmic radiation and even boiling.
The Tardigrade then made headlines in 2019 after a spacecraft took him to the Moon and the creature survived.
Thank you for reading Kompas.com.
Get information, inspiration and insight of email you.
This raises some interesting questions, such as how strong this creature can survive in outer space.
Challenged to answer that question, astrochemist Alejandra Traspas and astrophysicist Mark Burchell, both from the University of Kent in England, devised an experiment to find out by using a high-speed pistol to shoot a tardigrade.
First, researchers put two or three Hypsibius dujardini, a species of freshwater tardigrade, in frozen nylon bullets.
The bullet is then inserted into the gun, and fired at a sand target in a vacuum at speeds from 0.556 to 1.00 kilometers per second.
After that, researchers poured sand into the water column to isolate the tardigrades and observed how long they were conscious. As a control, 20 tardigrades were also frozen but not fired from the gun.
Also read: Known for being small and tough, now scientists discover the weaknesses of Tardigrade
As a result, tardigrade control can recover after about 8-9 hours. While the tardigrades that are fired can survive, they take longer to recover.
However, researchers revealed, at high speed shots, namely 901 meters per second, the tardigrade could not survive and was physically destroyed.
This shows that the impact speed threshold for tardigrades is 900 meters per second, equivalent to a shock pressure of 1.14 gigapascals.
Although this study does not directly answer the question of whether tardigrades can survive a high-speed collision, this experiment will help researchers determine how likely it is that tardigrades can survive in space, so that they can be used to measure the survival rate of organisms.
“The complex structures damaged by the shock event are not surprising. The peculiarity here may be that recovery and survival still occur well before the tardigrade-devastating impact event,” the researchers wrote in their study.
This research has been published in Astrobiology.
Also read: The Secret of the Tardigrade of the Most Powerful Creatures on Earth Revealed