Jul 14, 2017

These animals will survive until the Sun dies

Wikimedia Commons

Tardigrades are microscopic water -dwelling animals (although some species dwell in moss and tress) that scientists now say are able to survive asteroids, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts — all of which would destroy human life on earth.

  • There are species of tardigrades that can withstand a temperature of -272 °C — one degree warmer than absolute zero — and even the vacuum of space. Scientists sent 3,000 animal species into low Earth orbit, and tardigrades survived for 12 days outside of the capsule. There are microfossils of these creatures from as far back as 520 million years ago — before dinosaurs.
  • Theoretical physicists from Oxford and Harvard modeled the impact of different cataclysmic events — an asteroid impact, supernovae, and gamma-ray bursts — and found tardigrades could survive the end-of-the-world events, making a complete end of all living things pretty unlikely.
  • One sticking point: Some biologists point out that the study, done by physicists, treated tardigrades as one animal, when there are actually more than 1,200 different species of tardigrades.

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,898,613 — Total deaths: 399,832 — Total recoveries — 3,087,714Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,920,061 — Total deaths: 109,802 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters gather north of Lafayette Square near the White House during a demonstration against racism and police brutality, in Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have been rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events on Saturday.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct. A memorial service was held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor him until sunset.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.