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Beresheet Mondlander spilled "water bears" who can live in outer space

  • The Israeli private space ship Beresheet spilled its payload as it landed on the moon in April.
  • It promoted Tardigrades, microscopic creatures that can live in extreme conditions.
  • Nova Spivack, founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, who designed the Tardigrade Archive, told Wired they are probably still alive.
  • He said the container they were in was probably not destroyed in the crash.
  • Further information can be found on the INSIDER homepage stories.

Before his crash in April, Beresheet was to be the first private plane to land on the Moon.

The Moon Lander operated by the Israeli space company SpaceIL was developed to measure the magnetic field of the moon and to carry a time capsule that remains on the celestial body.

Created by the Arch Mission Foundation, this time capsule contained a library of textbooks, almost all English Wikipedia, classical literature and human DNA samples.

It also included thousands of tardigrades, microscopic creatures also known as "water bears." And according to Nova Spivack, founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, they are still alive.

"Our payload could be the only survivor of this mission," Spivack told Wired.

Read more: A group of Tardigrads crashed into the moon in April. The indestructible animals could still be alive.

Tardigrades can live in extreme conditions, including space. At the last minute, the Arch Mission Foundation decided to dehydrate the tardigrades and resin them along with the nickel engravings that contained the rest of the time capsule data. Spivack told Wired that the resin should be strong enough so that the library would not be broken or melted, even if Beresheet landed on the moon.

"Our job as a harsh backup of this planet is to ensure that we protect our heritage ̵

1; both our knowledge and our biology," said Spivack. "We have to plan the worst."

It is good news for the Tardigrades. These "water bears" are essentially indestructible and can be rehydrated and revived even after a decade of sleep. As Business Insider has already reported, there is a good chance that they will still be alive unless exposed to direct sunlight.

"Tardigrades, when dry, can withstand pressure up to 74,000 times that of sea-level pressure, so the impact [crash] should not be a problem for them," evolutionary biologist Roberto Guidetti told Business Insider. "They can stay dry for decades, possibly centuries."

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