Tardigrade, commonly known as water bears or moss piglets, is a near-microscopic animal having eight legs and each hand having 4 to 8 claws. There are some 1,000 known species within Tardigrade. Their length is around 0.05 mm to 1.2 mm. These animals are capable of surviving extreme cold and hot temperatures, radiation, boiling liquids, high pressure (up to six-times the pressure in Mariana Trench) as well as in the low Earth Orbit.
NASA is to send the water bear to the International Space Station to study its behaviour in the spaceflight environment. The researchers will seek to identify the genes that make them highly resilient to extreme conditions.