Tardigrades are already some of the hardiest known creatures in our Solar System, and are likely to outlive everything until our Sun eventually swells up and becomes a red giant. But it is now looking likely that the little moss piglets will also become the first known interstellar species, as they and the humble nematode worm will be the first passengers on a spacecraft to visit our next closest star.
The two creatures are pretty safe bets for the incredible journey out of our Solar System. Tardigrades, which are also known adorably as water bears, and nematode worms (Caenorhabditis elegans) are both known for their unusual ability to survive tough environments.
From being blasted with high levels of radiation to being frozen in extremely cold temperatures to being dehydrated to just 1 percent of water by weight, water bears are the natural choice for such a dangerous trip. Nematode worms are also a good candidate – we have mapped their entire genome, so we know what every one of their 900-odd cells do.