The Israeli probe Beresheet, crushed last April on the Moon, reportedly released on its surface tardigrades, an almost indestructible animal, that could survive extreme lunar conditions.
According to the Wired information site, the probe had a time capsule provided by the Arch Mission Foundation that included a digital library, DNA samples and thousands of tardigrades.
The private company SpaceIL, which designed the probe, is now trying to find out if they survived the April 11 crash.
It must be said that while the absence of an atmosphere and extreme temperatures ranging from -175 to 125 degrees on the lunar surface are incompatible with human life, the situation is quite different for this tiny one-millimeter animal, also known as the water bear.
On Earth, the tardigrade is an example of biological adaptability. It lives as much in the high altitudes of the Himalayas, at more than 6,000 m, as in the deep ocean and can survive both space vacuum and pressures of more than 1,200 times our atmosphere. It also survives very well in the absence of oxygen, nutrients, water, salt and radiation.
Its ability to survive almost anything is due to its cryptobiosis function, a condition that allows you to put your metabolism on a “break” by becoming dehydrated. Its active life expectancy is about 30 months, but researchers have seen these animals wake up in the laboratory after 30 years of cryptobiosis.
In 2017, late nights found in 2000 year old ice sheets in Greenland came back to life after being warmed up.
If the tardigrades survived the crash, they will not be able to proliferate on the Moon. They would then have to be brought back to Earth to rehydrate them and bring them back to life.
The return of a human being to the Moon is not expected until 2024 by the Americans.