Even if you’ve never heard of them, you’ve probably seen lots of tardigrades before. These eight-legged creatures - also called water bears and moss piglets - live on every continent on the planet, from the bottom of the ocean to the tops of mountains.
Thankfully, these scary creatures are only about a half millimeter long. While they're small, scientists all over the world are studying them trying to unlock the secrets behind this animal's strange abilities.
Tardigrades (the name means "slow steppers") are basically indestructible. They can live underwater, survive temperatures as high as 150°C and even live in the vacuum of space. With more research, humans might be able to copy their incredible powers.
Scientists have done experiments on tardigrades to prove just how tough they are. One survived being frozen alive for 30 years, while others were found living outside the International Space Station.
It turns out tardigrades have evolved special genes to keep their little bodies working no matter what nature throws their way.
Experiments have been done to mix tardigrade DNA with bacteria, yeast and even human cells, all of which became as tough as these little bugs are.
There are lots of practical uses for this - like making medicine that stays fresh forever, even outside of a refrigerator - but the most exciting part is that by treating humans with this little critter's DNA we could live forever.
It definitely makes you wonder: would you choose to live forever? What about if you had to be part tardigrade to do it? As long as I don't have to look like one I say sign me up!
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