Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



DISASTER MANAGEMENT
The last survivors on Earth
by Staff Writers
Oxford UK (SPX) Jul 18, 2017


File image.

The world's most indestructible species, the tardigrade, an eight-legged micro-animal, also known as the water bear, will survive until the Sun dies, according to a new Oxford University collaboration. The new study published in Scientific Reports, has shown that the tiny creatures, will survive the risk of extinction from all astrophysical catastrophes, and be around for at least 10 billion years - far longer than the human race.

Although much attention has been given to the cataclysmic impact that an astrophysical event would have on human life, very little has been published around what it would take to kill the tardigrade, and wipe out life on this planet.

The research implies that life on Earth in general, will extend as long as the Sun keeps shining. It also reveals that once life emerges, it is surprisingly resilient and difficult to destroy, opening the possibility of life on other planets.

Tardigrades are the toughest, most resilient form of life on earth, able to survive for up to 30 years without food or water, and endure temperature extremes of up to 150 degrees Celsius, the deep sea and even the frozen vacuum of space. The water-dwelling micro animal can live for up to 60 years, and grow to a maximum size of 0.5mm, best seen under a microscope. Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Harvard, have found that these life forms will likely survive all astrophysical calamities, such as an asteroid, since they will never be strong enough to boil off the world's oceans.

Three potential events were considered as part of their research, including; large asteroid impact, and exploding stars in the form of supernovae or gamma ray bursts.

Asteroids
There are only a dozen known asteroids and dwarf planets with enough mass to boil the oceans (2x10^18 kg), these include (Vesta 2x10^20 kg) and Pluto (10^22 kg), however none of these objects will intersect the Earth's orbit and pose a threat to tardigrades.

Supernova
In order to boil the oceans an exploding star would need to be 0.14 light-years away. The closest star to the Sun is four light years away and the probability of a massive star exploding close enough to Earth to kill all forms of life on it, within the Sun's lifetime, is negligible.

Gamma-Ray bursts
Gamma-ray bursts are brighter and rarer than supernovae. Much like supernovas, gamma-ray bursts are too far away from earth to be considered a viable threat. To be able to boil the world's oceans the burst would need to be no more than 40 light-years away, and the likelihood of a burst occurring so close is again, minor.

Dr Rafael Alves Batista, Co-author and Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics at Oxford University, said: 'Without our technology protecting us, humans are a very sensitive species. Subtle changes in our environment impact us dramatically. There are many more resilient species' on earth. Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone.

'Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples elsewhere in the universe. In this context there is a real case for looking for life on Mars and in other areas of the solar system in general. If Tardigrades are earth's most resilient species, who knows what else is out there.'

Dr David Sloan, Co-author and Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics at Oxford University, said: 'A lot of previous work has focused on 'doomsday' scenarios on Earth - astrophysical events like supernovae that could wipe out the human race. Our study instead considered the hardiest species - the tardigrade. As we are now entering a stage of astronomy where we have seen exoplanets and are hoping to soon perform spectroscopy, looking for signatures of life, we should try to see just how fragile this hardiest life is. To our surprise we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely. Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on.'

In highlighting the resilience of life in general, the research broadens the scope of life beyond Earth, within and outside of this solar system. Professor Abraham Loeb, co-author and chair of the Astronomy department at Harvard University, said: 'It is difficult to eliminate all forms of life from a habitable planet.

The history of Mars indicates that it once had an atmosphere that could have supported life, albeit under extreme conditions. Organisms with similar tolerances to radiation and temperature as tardigrades could survive long-term below the surface in these conditions.

The subsurface oceans that are believed to exist on Europa and Enceladus, would have conditions similar to the deep oceans of Earth where tardigrades are found, volcanic vents providing heat in an environment devoid of light. The discovery of extremophiles in such locations would be a significant step forward in bracketing the range of conditions for life to exist on planets around other stars.'

'The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events' Authors: David Sloan1, Rafael Alves Batista1, and Abraham Loeb2

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
West Mosul residents start mammoth task of rebuilding
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) July 13, 2017
Near Mosul's war-ravaged historic heart, Maher Al-Nejmawi watches a worker repainting his long-abandoned stall. Residents of Iraq's second city are trying to put their lives back together after months of fighting. "Here, a car bomb exploded. Over there, a rocket hit the building," says Nejmawi, a 29-year-old car battery and tyre salesman dressed in a brown robe. The white paint on his sh ... read more

Related Links
University of Oxford
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
The last survivors on Earth

Separated by war, Iraqi children wait for parents

Civilian deaths soar in Iraq, Syria: monitoring group

Haiti's army reborn 20 years after it was demobilized

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Japanese engineers develop headset-less VR system

Spacepath Communications Announces Innovative Frequency Converter Systems

Sorting complicated knots

Nature-inspired material uses liquid reinforcement

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Risky business for fish in oil-polluted reef waters

World's northernmost coral reef in Japan bleached

Trump envoy mediates water deal between Israel, Palestinians

Climate change deepens threat to Pacific island wildlife

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Microbe study highlights Greenland ice sheet toxicity

Sentinel satellite captures birth of behemoth iceberg

Massive iceberg

US need for four polar icebreakers 'critical,' warns report

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Disneyland China falls a-fowl of huge turkey leg demand

Using treated graywater for irrigation is better for arid environments

Disneyland China falls a-fowl of huge turkey leg demand

Warmer Arctic harms crops in US, Canada: study

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
New research uses satellites to predict end of volcanic eruptions

Crystals help volcanoes cope with pressure

Seven killed as India floods death toll rises to 83

7.7-magnitude quake hits off Russia: US scientists

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Rwandan forces killing suspects without trial: HRW

AU chair questions US stance on African peacekeeping

3 killed in north Mali clashes as UN condemns violence

Gambian army 'hostile elements' working against government

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Father's presence encourages sibling bonding among baboons

Towards a High-Resolution, Implantable Neural Interface

DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa

Researchers document early, permanent human settlement in Andes




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement