Living Creatures in space
Outer space is unknown and at times scary. It is considered as a valley of death as the space trumps you at each step.
Often it is surmised that anything alive cannot live in outer space for an extended period.
The cold vacuum can freeze an astronaut who is not adequately protected. However, there are several other dangers, such as the UV rays of the sun, which are not blocked by the atmosphere. Exposure to these rays is not fun as a day at the beach, it is something much worse.
It is unfortunate that we cannot be similar to tardigrades, which are tiny invertebrates living in the lakes and the oceans amongst the mosses and the lichens. Several researches in Europe have found that these species commonly known as water bears are able to live in space.
K. Ingemar Jonsson and his colleagues from Kristianstad University in Sweden sent a couple of species of the tardigrades to the space. The species were aboard the 2007 European Space Agency mission ship that was in the Earth’s lower orbit that was roughly 160 miles above. A few of the water bears were exposed only to the space’s vacuum and the others were exposed to both the space’s vacuum and the sun’s UV rays.
The Current Biology describes that the researchers found that the water bears adapted well to the vacuum conditions. However, this did not amaze the scientists as the tardigrades are known to survive even in grave dehydrated conditions. Moreover, the species used during the study were exceedingly dehydrated and after their re-entrance they were rehydrated and revived.
However, what surprised the scientists was that the other species that were exposed to the UV rays that were roughly a thousand times more powerful than the Earth were able to survive. Therefore, tardigrades have now joined lichens and bacteria as the species that can live in extreme conditions of vacuum and UV radiations in outer space.