Tiny creatures may have survived on moon

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 9, 2019

Thousands of tardigrades - also referred to as "water bears" or "moss piglets" - have been on board the Beresheet spacecraft when it crash-landed on the moon in April. The organization aims to spread a backup of human intelligence throughout the universe in a quest to create a galactic "Encylopedia".

"We believe the chances of survival for the tardigrades. are extremely high", Nova Spivack, co-founder and chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation, told AFP.

According to The Hindu, this is because the only likely surviving payload onboard the Israeli lunar lander Beresheet, called the Lunar Library, contained a leaf and some soil from the Bodhi tree in Bihar. The 30 million-page archive of human history covers every subject possible - cultures, nations, languages, time periods, and so on. "These were included", he wrote in an e-mail. "However the human cells, plant cells and micro-organisms we sent could be recovered, studied and their DNA extracted - perhaps to be cloned and regenerated, far in the future", he added.

Lukasz Kaczmarek, a tardigrade expert and astrobiologist at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, said the animals could have survived the crash landing. They can survive practically any planetary cataclysm. That distinction belongs to the DNA and microbes contained in the nearly 100 bags of feces and urine left behind by American astronauts during the Apollo lunar landings from 1969-1972. "Tardigrades are ideal to include because they are microscopic, multicellular, and one of the most durable forms of life on planet Earth", said Spivack. While the first layer is visible to the naked eye using a magnifying glass, the next three layers require a powerful microscope to be read. Each letter on these layers is the size of a bacillus bacterium.

On the AMF website, the organisation had earlier revealed the some of the contents of four analogue layers and 21 "layers of 40 micron thick nickel foils, each containing a DVD master". Each of the foils house a DVD master, which contain more than 100GB of highly compressed datasets that decompress to nearly 200GB of content, including the text and XML of the English Wikipedia, plus tens of thousands of PDFs of books - including fiction, non-fiction, a full reference library, textbooks, technical and scientific handbooks, and more.

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