It's one small step for Tardigrada, and one giant leap for the animal kingdom: The toughest creature on Earth has survived a trip into space.
Except for a few hardy strains of bacteria, any other creature would have been destroyed -- but tardigrades handled the voyage as though it were a dry spell on their local moss patch.
"They have claws and eyes. They are real animals. And this is the first time such an animal was tested in space," said Petra Rettberg, an Institute of Aerospace Medicine microbiologist.
A tiny, six-legged critter that can suspend all biological activity in extreme environments survived a journey to space that would have instantly killed any human and most other life forms.