The Fact News Service

Scientists shot tardigrades out of a gun at more than 2,000 mph to see if the critters could survive

The Fact News Service,
May 24,

Tardigrades have a reputation for being among the hardiest critters in the animal kingdom. These microscopic creatures can survive in vacuum space inside a volcano and in an antarctic lake nearly a mile underground. They have even returned to normal functioning after being frozen for three decades. But according to a recent study in the journal Astrobiology, even seemingly indestructible tardigrades have their limits. The researchers shot canisters full of tardigrades out of a high-speed gun at various speeds to see if the creatures could survive the pressure of each resulting impact.

After being shot out at speeds under 900 meters per second (about 2,000 miles per hour) – that’s faster than your average bullet – the tardigrades could be revived. Any faster than that, according to Alejandra Traspas, an astrochemist at Queen Mary University in London and a co-author of the study, and they didn’t make it. Being shot more than 2,000 mph meant the critters experienced 1.14 gigapascals of pressure on impact – that’s equivalent to the pressure of about 40,000 people standing on your back at once.


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