Israeli spacecraft left tiny creatures on the moon, may still be alive

The tiny creatures might have survived the crash landing.

By World Israel News Staff

When Israel’s Genesis lander crashed into the moon on April 11, few knew that it had carried samples of a tiny life form with extraordinary powers of regeneration. So much so, that it may have survived the space craft’s disintegration on the lunar surface.

Genesis carried a payload belonging to the Arch Mission Foundation, whose goal is to create “a backup of planet Earth.” The foundation’s project was a “DVD-sized archive,” a lunar library packed with “30 million pages of information, human DNA samples, and thousands of tardigrades,” Wired magazine reported on Monday.

Tardigrades, or “little water bears,” are tiny eight-legged, segmented creatures measuring about 1.5 millimeters long. They are considered among the most resilient creatures ever discovered and can survive extreme conditions, including radiation, dehydration and starvation. They can even survive space.

The founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, Noah Spivack, told Wired that Tardigrades can enter dormant states  “in which all metabolic processes stop and the water in their cells is replaced by a protein that effectively turns the cells into glass.” Tardigrades have been revived after 10 years in dormancy.

The little creatures are a favorite of space buffs. The most recent incarnation of the Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery, played off the idea of tardigrades by introducing a highly advanced creature of the same name which looked virtually identical to the real tardigrades and which could navigate the universe.

Spivack said that based on analysis of the crash and the location of the disc-sized library on the lander, he’s confident that the payload survived.