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Space Bear

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are famous for their ability to withstand some of the harshest conditions on the planet and beyond. They are very small animals, less than 1mm, and typically live in watery environments. Due to their size, they lose water within their bodies very quickly, so over time they have evolved a way to survive without water almost indefinitely, called anhydrobiosis. In this process they lose all their water, shrivel up into a dormant state, and then rehydrate when water becomes available again. This dried up state is called a "tun". When tardigrades are in their tun form, they can withstand not only extreme water loss, but also extreme freezing, heating pressures and radiation. Tardigrades have been known to even survive in the cold vacuum of outer space. This fact that Lauren learned in her microbiology class, inspired her to create a painting titled "space bear", as a fun play on the common tardigrade's name water bear.

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