Are Tardigrades Really That Tough? – Scientific American Blog Network

Credit: C. Scharf 2017

A recent paper in Scientific Reports has examined the apparent limits of cosmic conditions through which one of the hardiest types of organism on Earth could survive – the beloved tardigrade, or water bear.

The idea behind this work is that we can appeal to the various survival bounds of tardigrades, from temperature extremes to radiation resistance, in order to place an upper bound on the probability of the cosmos being nasty enough to truly eliminate any possible life on a suitable planet. Specifically, the authors look at astrophysical phenomena that might result in all the oceans boiling away on a terrestrial-type world

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