Social Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

(For the science folk) Is this real? And, if so, what more can you tell me about it?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (10929points) August 14th, 2012


This little guy is a Tardigrade, or a water bear. In 2008, water bears were the first animals demonstrated to be able to survive the vacuum of space. They are virtually indestructible and can survive being blasted with radiation, intense pressures and years of desiccation.
Specimens were launched into space by Swedish scientists and they returned unharmed after eight days.

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26 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

Yes, they are real, sorry, on the run and I can’t post more.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I am asking this, as it doesn’t look real. Here is the site where it came from.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yep! They are real. I even have some right here in the house! They often live in moss. Go outside and gets some pieces of moss. Look at it with a 10x hand held scope. If you are lucky, the critters will be there.
I keep the piece of moss on top of dirt in a flower pot and drizzle water on it every now and then.

Trillian's avatar

Saw one here a couple months ago. Yeesh.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Yes, they are real. I realize how strange that they look, but they are real.

mazingerz88's avatar

Makes sense. This tiny creature is wearing a spacesuit obviously. : )

Mama_Cakes's avatar

It’s awfully cute.

mazingerz88's avatar

Nice dance moves there. They could be our first biological explorers on Mars. Train them in colony building. But first they have to be sworn in as US citizens. And politically affiliated as Democrats. : )

Kardamom's avatar

I think I would scream if I saw one of those. Now how am I going to get that image out of my head?

mazingerz88's avatar

Unbelievable. These creatures can survive without water for 10 years.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Am I the only one here who thinks that they’re cute?

But, then again, I find jumping spiders to be adorable.

MilkyWay's avatar

@mazingerz88 Not 10, 120.
Skip to 02:20.

LuckyGuy's avatar

All of you, go outside and grab some moss. Odds are they’re there. It’s fantastic.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

D’awww “water bear”. haha I love the name.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Water Bear is the like a honey badger. He doesn’t give a shi*t!

Bill1939's avatar

You do not have to go to another planet to see alien forms of life. This Wiki link should answer your question. I had not seen this particular beasty before, but thought it might be microscopic in size. I was wrong. Most members of this species are one or two hundredths of an inch in length. Small, but not microscopic. Common household dust mites are 250 to 300 microns in length.

bea2345's avatar

You see, I was right. You can learn something new every day. Thanks for this question, @Mama_Cakes .

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Check this out.

mazingerz88's avatar

I want Waterbear DNA! I don’t have to buy too much water, not to mention I’m impervious to radiation and can survive in near space. Plus, I move sexy. : )

ccrow's avatar

@Bill1939 ‘s link says they’re also called ‘moss piglets’- I love it! Now I need to locate a magnifier so I can go outside and inspect moss…

LuckyGuy's avatar

I tried experiments with it. I aimed low power laser pointers at it to see if it would respond. I tried a 5mw red and a 10 mw green from about 10 cm away and got no response. The critter just sits there, fat, dumb, and happy.
First person to video Tardigrade porn wins the prize.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

The water bear ain’t looking too shabby now, huh?

MilkyWay's avatar

@Mama_Cakes I think ants are cute… and spiders look cool :D
But the water bear is really adorable.

mazingerz88's avatar

I want that cool chicken embryo photo on a t-shirt! The caption will read…

“Save babies! Support Chick-fil-a!” ( Oh, wait. )

bea2345's avatar

Since seeing this thread, I have been fascinated by the Tardigrade. There is a picture of it on my desktop at work – it is a better machine than mine, gives better pictures. That something so tiny could be studied so that we know something about its habits, diet, life cycle, etc. – that is so extraordinary. The detail that was interesting was that it is born with a fixed number of cells. Large waterbears have large cells, small ones have small cells. Remarkable. Right now I am looking for pictures that show its colours – one account says that they come in yellow and red. The picture I have has the thing in a green khaki skin and I understand it has been doctored to show off its features.

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