These animals can survive until the end of the Earth, astrophysicists say
Late tardies are considered the most difficult animals on the planet. Some of these microscopic invertebrates repel temperatures below 272 degrees Celsius, a degree warmer than absolute zero.
Other species can withstand powerful radiation and space vacuum. In 2007, the European Space Agency sent 3,000 animals into Earth’s low orbit, where the tardigrades survived for 12 days outside the capsule.
For a group of theoretical physicists, tardigrades are perfect specimens to test the tenacity of life.
“Life is pretty fragile if all your estimates are based on humans or dinosaurs,” said David Sloan, a theoretical cosmologist at the University of Oxford in Britain.
The tardigrade line is old. “The Tardigrade microfossils were reported from early Cambrian to lower Cretaceous, there are 520 to 100 million years ago,” said Ralph O. Schill, an expert tardi graduate from the University of Stuttgart in Germany, which he has not participated in this research. “They saw the dinosaurs come and go.”
Sloan, with his Oxford colleague Rafael Alves Batista and astrophysicist at Harvard University, Abraham Loeb, decided to try to rid the world of the tardigrades.
In theory, at least, in a report published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports. Through the powers of mathematical modeling, they launched three of the most devastating cosmic events of Earth’s killer, supernovae, and gamma-ray asteroids.
“These are the major forms of energy transfer for the planet,” Sloan said. Tardígrados continued Transport in the theory of 10 billion years of cataclysms. Until the sun has failed or enveloped the planet.
In choosing their apocalyptic poison, scientists first tried to sterilize the planet with radiation.
In the laboratory, some species can survive late doses of radiation from 5,000 to 6,000 gray.
(“You would be very lucky to walk” a dose of 5 Gy, Sloan said.) But long before scientists make the ground with enough radiation to kill all the tardigrades, it is estimated that the radiation energy would boil the Means oceans.
The critical point for tardigrades was then the evaporation of water on the planet.