August 3rd, 2013

IH - space

Saturday & Sunday Word: Tardigrade & Trovant

Truth is stranger than fiction; there are things more fantastic on the Earth than you might believe, but they're real!

tar·di·grade (ˈtärdəˌgrād):
origin: (1860) Latin tardigradus= slow-moving, from tardus= slow + gradi to step or go

No, this isn't related to Dr.Who and his TARDIS, but by golly gum it could!

Their nickname is "water bear" due to their stout shape, and distinctive sets of four legs, which end in claw-like appendages. Tardigrades are microscopic and one of the hardest things in the universe to kill that we know of! Neither freezing, or boiling, or even the radiation of outer space does them in -- we've tried!

In any situation where there isn't enough to sustain a tardigrade, they simply enter a state of "cryptobiosis" (or stasis), like a vampire emerging when the time is right and can last hundreds of years in such ways.

Where can you find water bears? Everywhere!

These sturdy, tiny, invertebrate critters enjoy lumbering around in mosses, lichens and sand grains: 900+ species of tardigrades live in freshwater & about 10% in the sea. As they can survive in outer space, some scientists speculate that it's even possible they originate from outside our own solar system!!

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I seem to cover this sort of topic often, so if it interests you as well, feel free to click the tag wordsmith:theidolhands or scientific in this entry.
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