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[VICE – First Animal To Survive In Space]
[Mike Shaw] Source: LYBIO.net
We’ve been sending creates up into space for longtime and tardigrades among other microorganisms are special in that. They can withstand these extremes of temperatures so we decided, well let’s see if they can withstand the real vacuum and the perfect vacuum is in space. As we send tardigrades into space the question has to arise, maybe tardigrades came from space, if they can withstand it.
Rockwood Park – Richmond, Virginia
SPACE BEAR HUNTER
I consider myself a naturalist, I’ve been called a naturalist in a classical sense, which for example, I am not comparing myself but Charles Darwin was naturalist, he made a contribution to science, so basically I’m just an ordinary person and I like nature, just like most people do and being in nature sort of wants to make me study it a little bit more.
I wanted to make a contribution to science, modestly I didn’t think I’d do anything great, but something maybe, something that somebody hadn’t done and in just looking for various things to do, the word tardigrade came up, didn’t even really know what a tardigrade was till I looked into it.
So, tardigrades are little microscopic creatures that are about a millimeter or less in size, they are very tiny, basically it is a little caterpillar like creature, looks like a caterpillar with eight legs and it has claws, which look like bear claws, that’s why it’s called a water bear. They have a mouth. They have a digestive tract. They have muscles. They have a nervous system.
So they are similar to us in that way. They are like insects and that they have that hard shell skin, which they reproduce with eggs and then they molt their skin and they use their whole body to facilitate digestion. We don’t really know how they evolve, we can’t even guess, we don’t know what other species they are related to because they are so different and of course their ability to withstand. As far as heat they can survive a 120 degree celsius, which is 240 degrees Fahrenheit, 200 or 300 degrees below zero, vacuum of space, a 1000 atmospheres of pressure, x-rays, ultra-violet radiation, so the tardigrades can survive all of these extremes.
Now if you are looking for tardigrades and you want to find a good habitat, trees like this, which have deep furrows in the bark are best. So, tardigrades have gone into space where there is a perfect vacuum and also there is a lot of solar radiation and ultra-violet and x-ray radiation in space and it’s very intense that something more than we can create here on earth. So that was a great way to test them and they came back and survived.
Did tardigrades come from space? Anything is possible. We might have come from another galaxy. The problem is distances across space are so large and even if you are travelling as fast as anything can travel, which is the speed of light, it would take hundreds, if not thousands of years to go from one galaxy or one planet to another. So, in that timeframe anything can happen. You can’t colonize planets that way, not now, not as far as we know. So, the answer right now is anything is possible. I don’t have a personal theory about it.
Do I believe in extra-terrestrial life that life exists outside this planet? Yeah, I do believe that. Just because I believe in odds and possibilities and because the universe is infinite, if you can just grasp that, which is hard enough to do.
There might be other forms of life right under our nose such as tardigrades, which are right here, which did come from other planets, we don’t know that though.
When I did a little research on, I found out there wasn’t really that much know about tardigrades and in fact I read one scientific paper and found that New Jersey, the state I was living in at the time had zero tardigrades showing on the map. So, I said well, let’s see if I could find the tardigrade. I visited all 21 counties in New Jersey and found that tardigrades are ubiquitous, which means they are everywhere.
So, I wrote a scientific paper and found various species took photographs, identified the trees, their habitat and that paper will be published soon, it’s being reviewed now by one of the prominent tardigradologists and perhaps have even found a new species of tardigrade. So that’s under a review now. I have sent my slides off for analysis.
Now wait a second. This could also be a good tardigrade habitat. This is just ordinary moss. You just take a piece of moss out and place it into a coin envelope or a paper bag and what you’ll find is even though it’s dry right now, once you rehydrate it tardigrades will appear. So, we are going to place this moss into the envelope.
How did tardigrades go into what’s called cryptobiosis or suspended animation, I mean that’s pretty fascinating. They just curl up into a little bowl, they create a very hard shell, and somehow someway within there is a seed of moisture, a molecule of water that preserves them inside this encrustment.
The life span of a tardigrade if it was just moving around in the water and you were observing it, it might be only six months, but because it dries out, rehydrates; dries out, rehydrates; dries out, rehydrates. This could be done over a period of many, many years. This is how they preserve themselves, sometimes they can be a 100 years old that way.
Now there is a wee little tardigrade for you. So, what we want to do is actually get to look at him close up, we will change this objective to a tighter more powerful lens. Okay, now let’s see close up how he looks. So, when you are looking through the microscope and you are seeing this little tardigrade moving around in his environment. He is in the moment, he is in the now, he is nothing about the future, he is nothing about the past.
All he is doing is living and enjoying the present moment. So, if we can be more like that, I’m not saying let’s be like tardigrades, but what I am saying is, if we can learn acceptance, I think everybody will be a lot happier and I know I have been a lot happier since I have accepted and embraced life as it is.
VICE – First Animal To Survive In Space. So, tardigrades have gone into space where there is a perfect vacuum and also there is a lot of solar radiation and ultra-violet and x-ray radiation in space and it’s very intense that something more than we can create here on earth. So that was a great way to test them and they came back and survived. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.