We live on a pretty cool planet. Just when you get silly enough to think you’ve seen all it has to offer, nature gets up and bowls you her equivalent of a googly.
To quote mine the bard:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
And in the case of this curious little critter, the tardigrade, it would seem this is literally the case. As reported on the BBC site these hardy wee beasties (also known as water bears) have survived exposure to the less than hospitable environment of outer space. Perhaps that is no great surprise as it actually looks like a multi-legged ursid in a space suit.
Reading about this Endeavour (sorry, sorry, dreadful pun, just dreadful – though deliciously inevitable) I can’t help but think of the potential significance for the search for life in places far, far from this rocky oblate spheroid. After all if little guys like this can survive in such an extreme environment it seems likely life may have gained a toehold elsewhere in our solar system, galaxy, or elsewhere in the universe.