The tardigrade - will be alive on Earth until Sun dies

Tiny mini-monsters called tardigrades or 'water bears' will outlive humanity, conquer the Earth and survive until the sun

Tiny mini-monsters called tardigrades or 'water bears' will outlive humanity, conquer the Earth and survive until the sun

The study continues: "To establish this we break from the usual study in the literature of the possible paths to ending human life, and broaden the analysis to consider those astrophysical events which could rather remove all life by analysing the most resilient of species-tardigrades". They analyzed the probabilities of certain disasters, judged that Earth will not experience a calamity in which all its water is boiled off, and therefore concluded that tardigrades will be around until the sun explodes and engulfs our planet. 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.

Cockroaches can survive a nuclear winter, but the "water bear" could outlive everything - at least until the Sun dies.

"Because [tardigrades] are so hardy it means that events that we are anxious about as human beings, and rightly so, certainly wouldn't concern you if you just considered all life", he told The Guardian. "If tardigrades are Earth's most resilient species, who knows what else is out there".

They can endure temperature extremes of up to 150 degrees Celsius, the deep sea and even the frozen vacuum of space.

Gamma-ray bursts are brighter than supernovae but would need to be no more than 40 light years away to pose a existential threat to all life on Earth.

"There is a real case for looking for life on Mars and in other areas of the solar system in general".

Only a dozen objects, including the dwarf planet Pluto, are big enough that they would cause Earth's oceans to boil if they hit, but none are on a trajectory to intersect with our orbit.

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"Although nearby supernovae or asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected". These explosions occur when enormous stars collapse or neutron stars collide; they're even rarer than supernovae, and astronomers have only seen them in distant galaxies.

"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", added Rafael Alves Batista, a co-author and researcher at Oxford. But the fact that tardigrades are so resistant to other potential apocalypses in the interim implies that "life is tough, once it gets going", Shostak says.

While research has looked at the various ways human life will go extinct, very little academic work has looked at what it would take to extinguish all life on earth, according to the study.

Scientists have investigated what will kill the world's most indestructible species and concluded that nearly nothing can - except the death of the sun.

"Subtle changes in our environment impact us dramatically". If life that developed on planets like Mars is anything like tardigrades, it would stick around despite the planet's current inhospitable conditions, the researchers said.

Subsurface oceans believed to exist on Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus, "would have conditions similar to the deep oceans of Earth where tardigrades are found", said the authors. Professor Abraham Loeb, co-author and chair of the Astronomy department at Harvard University, said: 'It is hard to eliminate all forms of life from a habitable planet.

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