Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Unique animal species can survive in space

Water bears (tardigrades) are the first animals in the world to have survived exposure to the vacuum and radiation of space.

This has been established by Ingemar Jönsson, a researcher at Kristianstad University in Sweden.

It has been nearly a year since the ecologist Ingemar Jönsson had some 3,000 microscopic water bears sent up on a twelve-day space trip. The aim of the research project, which was supported by the European Space Agency, was to find out more about the basic physiology of tardigrades by seeing if they can survive in a space environment.

Now Ingemar Jönsson and his colleagues in Stockholm, Stuttgart, and Cologne are publishing their research findings, including an article in the international journal Current Biology.

"Our principal finding is that the space vacuum, which entails extreme dehydration, and cosmic radiation were not a problem for water bears. On the other hand, the ultraviolet radiation in space is harmful to water bears, although a few individual can even survive that," says Ingemar Jönsson.

The next challenge facing Ingemar Jönsson is to try to understand the mechanisms behind this exceptional tolerance in water bears. He suspects that even the water bears that got through the space trip without any trouble may in fact have incurred DNA damage, but that the animals managed to repair this damage.

"All knowledge involving the repair of genetic damage is central to the field of medicine," says Ingemar.

"One problem with radiation therapy in treating cancer today is that healthy cells are also harmed. If we can document and show that there are special molecules involved in DNA repair in multicellular animals like tardigrades, we might be able to further the development of radiation therapy."

Tardigrades survive exposure to space in low Earth orbit
K. Ingemar Jönsson, Elke Rabbow, Ralph O. Schill, Mats Harms-Ringdahl, and Petra Rettberg

Current Biology, Vol 18, R729-R731, 09 September 2008

Ingemar Jönsson can be reached at phone: +46-(0)70 2666 541 or e-mail at:

Pressofficer Lisa Nordenhem,; +46-703 176578
Water bear facts
Water bears (tardigrades) are multicellular, invertebrate animals about one millimeter in size. They exist in nearly all ecosystems of the world. What makes them unique is that they can survive repeated dehydration and can lose nearly all the water they have in their bodies. When dehydrated, they enter into a dormant state in which the body contracts and metabolism ceases. In this death-like dormant state, water bears manage to maintain the structures in their cells until water is available and they can be active again.

Ingemar Björklund | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Solid progress in carbon capture

27.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>