Crashed Israeli Lander Possibly Brought Life From Earth to Moon

Water bear

Water bear

When Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed on the Moon in April it may have left more than just rubble on its surface. The disc, which was put together by Arch Mission Foundation, a nonprofit that "maintains a backup of planet Earth", was sent to the moon on Beresheet, a lunar lander.

Tardigrades, or "little water bears", are tiny eight-legged, segmented creatures measuring about 1.5 millimeters long. According to Wired, the package was about the size of a DVD and contained human DNA-including Spivack's own-as well as 30 million pages of information on mankind's knowledge and thousands of dehydrated tardigrades.

While it's not completely certain, the Arch Mission Foundation is quite confident that the lunar library was ejected from the spacecraft but survived the crash - meaning the water bears are probably up there... somewhere.

Engineers lost contact with the spacecraft only minutes before it was due to complete the historic lunar landing on April 11, making a high-velocity crash-landing inevitable. So much so, that it might have survived the space craft's disintegration on the lunar surface.

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The spacecraft was budgeted at $100 million (NIS 370 million), a fraction of the cost of vehicles launched to the moon by major powers US, Russia and China in the past. "We have to sort of plan for the worst". "We knew there were risks but we didn't think the risks were that significant".

The micro-animals that were part of the moon lander's cargo are capable of entering a state of suspended metabolism, with their bodies becoming nearly completely dehydrated, which may allow them to survive, even in space. Research has previously shown that dehydrated micro-animals can be revived decades later.

Its lunar library was placed on board Israel's Beresheet lunar lander-which was the first privately funded mission to the moon. "We're also thinking about other places, including the ability to go beyond the Moon".

It remains to be seen whether SpaceIL's next mission will include taking even more tardigrades to the Moon, or perhaps even beyond.

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