Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hey there and welcome to Life Noggin. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was something that could survive space without a special suit? Well it turns out there is something that awesome, and it’s called a tardigrade! They may sound like something you get when you’re late for school, but these little guys are basically superheroes! Let’s find out why. Tardigrades, or more adorably known as water bears and moss piglets, are a phylum of small invertebrates that are bilaterally symmetrical and have four pairs of legs. They like to munch on things like plant cell fluid and bacteria and try their best to avoid their predators, which can include other tardigrades! That’s right, some tardigrades are cannibals! Talk about trust issues. But just why are these little guys so scientifically awesome? Well, it turns out that our moss piglet friends are super resilient and can survive some pretty extreme conditions. They can handle super cold environments, like ones colder than - 200 Celsius, and also ones as hot as around 150 Celsius! They can also survive extreme radiation, oxygen depletion, and also severe pressures. Some scientists even think they will outlive humanity! Tardigrades are also thought of as one of the few lifeforms that can survive the harsh conditions of space since they have lived at Low Earth Orbit. In 2007, samples of tardigrades were exposed to a space vacuum and two different ultraviolet radiation spectral ranges. All of the tardigrade samples were exposed to both ionizing solar and galactic cosmic radiation. The solar radiation negatively affected their chance of survival, but amazingly, some of these little fellas were still able to survive! So how do they do it? It’s all thanks to a process called cryptobiosis. Through this, tardigrades practically stop all metabolic processes and can survive for years in this state. They can dry up into a lifeless ball in what scientists call a “tun”. They stay in this state until they come into contact with water again. It’s basically the extreme version of playing possum. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to meet one of these superheroes. Oh… well that was easy. But I’d love for my human friends in the real world to meet one too! Turns out you might be able to if you have a good microscope. According to some sources, including the awesomely named International Society of Tardigrade Hunters, if you want to see a tardigrade for yourself, go out and find some lichen or moss and place it in a shallow dish. Let it soak in distilled water overnight and in the morning, squeeze the moss over a transparent dish, like a Petri dish, to collect the water. With any luck, you might be able to examine the water under a microscope and get to meet one of these awesome water bears! I’m going to name mine Heimlich. So what do you think about these little guys? Let me know your favorite fact about tardigrades in the comments below and let me know of any other amazing animals you’d like to learn more about! Make sure you come back every Monday for a brand new video. As always, I’m Blocko and this has been Life Noggin. Don’t forget to keep on thinking!