Did life on Earth emerge spontaneously from primordial pools, or fall from the cosmos with meteoric fanfare? Not sure? Ponder the Tardigrade.

Tardigrade or “water bear” are the only known life form capable of surviving the airless vacuum of space and lethal radiation levels. Remarkable yes, mind blowing when considered with additional facts – they can survive six times the pressure of our deepest ocean, frozen to absolute zero (-273 C) or boiled above 150 C. Dehydrate a Tardigrade for years then add water, voila – business as usual. Eventually they do succumb to old age, but don’t hold your breath, life expectancy is 200 years.

Discovered by Italian Lazarro Sapallanzani in 1773, water bears are thought to have inhabited Earth for 530 million years. Measuring 0.5 mm – 1.2 mm in length, they can be found anywhere on Earth.

The Tardigrade begs evolution to explain why. Evolution adapts species for life on our planet, why would a species need to withstand ravages of time and space?

Magnified 500x: The green fronds seen here are tiny moss leaves