In the last few years, tardigrades, also known as water bears or moss piglets, have gotten a lot of attention for being tough. The can survive temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 459 degrees below zero. They can resist up to ten days of cosmic radiation while floating in space.
And, most impressively, in dry conditions they can pull their eight legs and head into their body, create a ball and shrivel up for over a decade. During this time they can reduce their metabolism to almost nothing—but with a little water, they pop back to life.
Now, researchers think have finally figured out how tardigrades perform that impressive trick.