• Question: If water bears are the toughest creatures alive why have they not been used in any scientific-related activities? And can you think of anything they can be used for? Such as space travel.

    Asked by teamcarrot115 to Cat, Daz, Holly, Johnson, Pamela on 22 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      Hi teamcarrott,

      Wow, you’ve totally caught me out there! I have no idea. They are pretty cool creatures aren’t they. But I can’t decide if they are cute or really ugly!

      I read somewhere that they can survive in space. But they are such a cool animal I’m sure very soon there is going to be a lot more research done on them.

      What would be really cool to look at is how they survive living without water for so long. If we could figure that out, and replicate it, it’d be great for people that work in warm and dry environments or people who work in areas that if there was an accident they might be without water for a while, like those Chilean miners!

      What do you think would be a good thing to research about water bears?


    • Photo: Darren Braddick

      Darren Braddick answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Hi teamcarrot115!

      Well they are tough also because they are small, I think! Their toughness might not be so interesting to us – think of another tough, natural thing. You may not believe it, but spider’s web is made of a substance which is physically better than anything man has made. We’ve tried to copy it and learn from it, to improve our technologies. I do agree though, waterbears could be useful, but so far I do not know if they have been used.

      Space travel is a good example, because the effects of anti-gravity are still not very well understood. The important thing is that humans can survive it, and this makes space travel possible. Understanding it better can make human missions better – maybe shorter, more comfortable and with less risks. It would be awesome if they are used this way! Imagine little water bears floating around (in water.. in a container.. in a spaceship.. and in space!!).

      I hope this helps answer your question!