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Tue Aug 6, 2019, 05:41 PM

Thousands of Tardigrades Stranded on the Moon After Lunar Lander Crash [View all]

By Mindy Weisberger 5 hours ago Spaceflight

If any creature could survive a crash-landing on the moon, it would probably be a tardigrade.
(Image: Shutterstock/NASA)

When you look up at the moon, there may now be a few thousand water bears looking back at you.

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed into the moon during a failed landing attempt on April 11. In doing so, it may have strewn the lunar surface with thousands of dehydrated tardigrades, Wired reported yesterday (Aug. 5).

Beresheet was a robotic lander. Though it didn't transport astronauts, it carried human DNA samples, along with the aforementioned tardigradesand 30 million very small digitized pages of information about human society and culture. However, it's unknown if the archive and the water bears survived the explosive impact when Beresheet crashed, according to Wired. [8 Reasons Why We Love Tardigrades]

The tardigrades and the human DNA were late additions to the mission, added just a few weeks before Beresheet launched on Feb. 21. Much like Cretaceous fossils locked in amber, the DNA samples and tardigrades were sealed in a resin layer protecting the DVD-size lunar library, while thousands more tardigrades were poured onto the sticky tape that held the archive in place, Wired reported.


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Reply Thousands of Tardigrades Stranded on the Moon After Lunar Lander Crash [View all]
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