NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 21 May 2023: An alien-like animal! | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 21 May 2023: An alien-like animal!

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 21st May is arguably that of the toughest animal on Earth. In fact that, it is said to be the best candidate to be an alien. NASA explains why.

| Updated on: May 21 2023, 13:40 IST
Spectacular NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Eagle Nebula, Dark Sunspots and more
1/5 The mesmerizing Eagle Nebula (May 15) - This is a snapshot of M16, also known as the Eagle Nebula which spans about 20 light-years across. The nebula, discovered in 1745 by the Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux, is located 7,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens, according to NASA. (NASA/Gianni Lacroce)
2/5 Sun’s Corona visible during solar eclipse (May 16) - Sun’s Corona was shot during a total solar eclipse. Temperatures in the Sun’s Corona can reach up to 2 million degrees and it is also the region where solar wind originates, according to NASA. While the hottest part of the Sun is its core, one of its most puzzling features is its Corona which extends more than 1 million kilometers from its surface. (NASA/Reinhold Wittich)
3/5 Sun’s Dark Sunspots (May 17) - Sunspots on the surface of the Sun in the active region AR 3297 were captured in this image. According to NASA, Sunspots are dark areas on the solar surface that contain strong magnetic fields that are constantly shifting and can form and dissipate over periods of days or weeks. They occur when strong magnetic fields emerge through the solar surface and allow the area to cool slightly. (NASA/Mark Johnston)
4/5 Breathtaking WR134 Ring Nebula (May 18) -  It is a breathtaking snapshot of the WR134 Ring Nebula, located about 6000 light-years from Earth towards the constellation Cygnus. At the center of the Nebula is the Wolf Rayet star WR 134 named after French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. (NASA/Craig Stocks)
5/5 Snapshot of M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy (May 19) - The celestial object captured in this image is the M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy which is located about 30 million light-years away towards the constellation Canes Venatici. Also known as NGC 5055, this spiral galaxy spans almost 100,000 light-years. Spiral Galaxies like M63 are disks of stars, gas, and dust that have bright bulges in their centers made up primarily of older and dimmer stars. (NASA/Sophie Paulin/Jens Unger/Jakob Sahner)
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Tardigrade - the best candidate to be an alien! Here is why. (Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes / Eye of Science)

The idea of the presence of aliens has always fascinated humans! From sci-fi movie plots revolving around aliens to scientific studies to find life beyond Earth have always kept the excitement alive. The existence of aliens is a captivating question that has intrigued NASA scientists too for a long time. Although, scientists haven't found life on other planets or obtained scientific evidence supporting the existence of extraterrestrial life, NASA is still actively looking for evidence.

Meanwhile, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 21st May has shared an intriguing image of a Tardigrade animal in Moss. Is this an alien? You must be thinking! But as mentioned earlier, there is no proof of aliens so far. But for all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate for an alien! Wondering why? NASA spills the beans on this.

What are Tardigrades

Along with the picture, NASA explains that Tardigrades are more common than humans across Earth. They are also known as water bears which are little microscopic organisms. Tardigrades are considered to be the best candidate to be an alien-like animals because they can live for decades without food or water. Not just that, Tardigrades can survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, they can handle pressure from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and can absorb direct exposure to dangerous radiations.

NASA has tested its far-ranging survivability in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. NASA says that "Some of these miniature water bears almost became extraterrestrials in 2011 when they were launched toward the Martian moon Phobos." Later, they were launched toward Earth's own moon in 2021, but the former launch failed and the landing was crashed.

What's the reason behind the durability of these microorganisms? Tardigrades possess these remarkable abilities due to their ability to repair their DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent.

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First Published Date: 21 May, 13:40 IST