Israel once had a lunar exploration program, and they also left the most tenacious creatures on the moon on the moon, so why haven’t scientists taken them home yet?
Israel launched the Genesis spacecraft into space in 2019, and their mission is very simple, to complete the lunar exploration program.
But unfortunately, as the Genesis was preparing to land, it was eventually forced to crash in space due to a series of engine failures.
At first glance, people seem to think that Israel’s lunar exploration experience is a failure, but they have done something that scientists have still deeply studied until now.
It turned out that the Genesis had placed nearly a thousand water bears in the equipment “lunar library” and materials such as epoxy resin, and left them all on the moon.
So what exactly are water bears? Why was it selected by Israeli scientists, and what is the research value behind it?
It turns out that water bears have a very high reputation on the earth. It was once called by experts the most tenacious creature on earth, so in 2019, Israeli scientists planned to send the water bear to the moon through a probe to see if it can survive in the space environment. If so, how long can it live?
So, what kind of existence is the water bear? Why is it called the strongest defense master on the surface?
Although the water bear is not particularly cute, when we look at its magnified appearance under the microscope, we will find that it really looks like a brown bear. Therefore, the name of the water bear is also determined according to its physical characteristics.
Tardigrades like to hide and hide and always like to play in freshwater areas.
After research, it was found that they are a large family. For example, tardigrades have more than 900 different classifications, and they don’t pick environment and climate at all.
On a global scale, tardigrades have a wide distribution. Such as volcanoes, hot springs, deep seas, tropical rain forests and the Arctic, even in the Himalayas, scientists can find traces of them.
What makes people curious is this small creature, which humans must observe carefully through a magnifying glass or microscope. But it has a feature that many large animals do not have, that is, the tenacity of vitality.
Scientists have found that the most notable feature of water bears is their high tolerance to adverse environments.
For example, during periods of drought, many animals stop their heartbeats due to the extreme lack of water in their bodies.
But the water bear is different. It controls its own water content between 85% and 3% in extreme drought. And within this range, it can still keep moving. Until the water content in its body is less than 3%, these little guys will immediately shrink its body and disguise itself as a deceased corpse, but in fact it has entered a hidden state. What does this mean?
It turns out that water bears have a very good self-protection mechanism. When their bodies are extremely dehydrated, they are prepared to fight a protracted battle in order to prolong their lives while resisting harsh environments.
So they quickly go into hibernation, where it looks as if it’s dead, but it’s actually alive.
Until the tardigrade’s physical perception environment is slowly improving, it is suddenly awakened and the body begins to recover, and this process is called cryptobiosis.
Of course, tardigrades possess such powerful abilities not overnight. Because historical experts have introduced that water bears have appeared on the earth at least 500 million years ago, strictly speaking, they are still living fossils.
Since tardigrades are invincible on earth, if scientists send them to the space environment, can these little bugs survive for a long time?
In 2007, international scientists launched rocket spacecraft through space experiments and installed water bears in related equipment.
However, when the vehicle was exposed to the space environment, high-energy ultraviolet and other radiation energy from the universe quickly irradiated the tardigrades in all aspects.
The experiment lasted only 10 days, and scientists soon called the spacecraft back to Earth. Surprisingly, nearly 70% of the tardigrades sent to space survived safely.
After data investigation, it was found that in the space environment, tardigrades tend to be in a bad state because they perceive changes in the environment, so they quickly entered a cryptogenic state.
But after returning to Earth, scientists gave it a hydrated environment again. So the water bears immediately returned to their active state and were able to reproduce normally.
This result excited countless scientists, so in 2011, scientists from Italy formed a scientific research team, and they used the STS-134 space shuttle to send thousands of water bears into space again.
Finally, people came to the conclusion once again that water bears have a strong tolerance for adverse environments.
So why does it have this characteristic that humans do not have? Through long-term research, Chris, a medical expert from the United States, believes that tardigrades secrete a damage-suppressing protein in a cryptogenic state.
The substance quickly helps tardigrades develop resistance to electrical radiation in their wounds. It is precisely because of the existence of this reaction that water bears can resist damage in many adverse environments.
Since these little cuties are different, can they survive on the moon by their strength?
It is precisely because of this assumption that when Israel launched a rocket in 2019 to complete the lunar exploration program, it prepared thousands of water bears.
But I never thought that the plan would fail, and the water bear was smashed on the moon when the probe fell into the lunar surface.
The instantaneous shock pressure that the water bear can withstand is 1.01GPa. Unfortunately, the speed of the Israeli lunar probe at that time was higher than 1.14GPa.
In other words, this group of creatures, known as the most tenacious creatures on earth, was finally smashed into a paste under the great impact and pressure. They have died heroically before they can help people study more space knowledge.
But scientists believe they were well prepared.
Because in addition to placing hundreds of tardigrades on the surface of the device “Lunar Library”, they also sealed some tardigrades in epoxy resin. But whether the remaining tardigrades can survive safely on the lunar surface is still unknown.
Because the moon does not have a suitable atmosphere, the temperature difference between day and night is too large, making it difficult for many organisms to survive.
For example, the temperature of the moon can reach up to 127 degrees during the day, and it can be as cold as minus 183 degrees at night. Even though the water bear has a strong ability to resist cold, its response mechanism also needs a buffer time.
The sudden temperature difference will cause the tardigrades to have no time to switch their body functions.
Therefore, most scientists now believe that the batch of water bears in 2019 may have already become space junk.