+
upworthy
Science

A recent scientific study found that life on Earth will survive nearly anything

Life could survive pretty much anything the universe is going to throw at us.

life, earth, nature, environment, science

Earth faces many challenges moving forward except maybe inhabiting life.

This article originally appeared on 07.17.17


Scientists have calculated what it would take to sterilize the planet. No wait, stay with me! It's not as morbid as it sounds!

Three scientists from Oxford and Harvard universities were interested in just what it would take to sterilize the Earth — not just wipe out humanity, but get a really deep scrub in there and completely wipe out life.

What they found is that life could survive pretty much anything the universe is going to throw at us for at least 7.6 billion years.


To figure this out, they looked at the greatest survivors ever.

Not humans. Not sharks. Tardigrades.

Big, impressive life — humans and whales and Tyrannosaurus rexes — are actually kind of fragile. We depend on very specific environments to survive. But there are much tougher creatures out there, wriggling around, like tardigrades.

Tardigrade, nature, universe, science

A Water Bear Tardigrade gets in a swim.

Giphy

Also known as water bears, these microscopic little guys are tough as nails. Tardigrades can be frozen, irradiated, starved for decades — heck, they've even survived the vacuum of space!

After doing a bunch of math about radiation and pressure and other factors, the scientists determined the only way to wipe out these little buggers would be to boil the entire ocean. Let me repeat that: The only way to get rid of them is to boil the ocean.

And boiling the ocean just isn't likely to happen anytime soon. You'd have to slam the planet with a truly gigantic asteroid, or hit it with a supernova or an ultra-powerful gamma ray burst. The scientists did the math, and they say all of those are just too rare or too far away to matter to a tardigrade.

"Life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out," study co-author Dr. David Sloan said in a press release.

science, life, evolution, survival, earth, nature

Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm pontificating on life in the movie "Jurassic Park."

Giphy

Basically, life on Earth is probably going to survive as long as the sun does.

Unfortunately, there is an end point. In about 7.6 billion years, the sun's going to evolve into a red giant star. At that point, it'll either devour the Earth or be bright enough to, yes, boil the oceans.

That's a long way away. Life has only been on Earth for about 3.8 billion years — multicellular life even less. In only about 600 million years, we went from worms to dinosaurs to Carl Sagan. Imagine what another 7.6 billion years will get us. Life on Earth hasn't even hit middle age yet.

The researchers say this gives hope to the possibility of finding life on other planets.

Perhaps the deep soils of Mars or the volcanic oceans of Europa or Enceladus have their own little microscopic Terminators too.

"If tardigrades are Earth's most resilient species, who knows what else is out there," said Dr. Rafael Alves Batista, a co-author of the study.

That doesn't mean we humans should take our sturdy little home for granted, though.

Remember that tardigrades are little Terminators. We're not. Humans, it turns out, really like Earth the way it is now.

If we want to last as long as the tardigrades do, we have some work ahead of us — like preparing for climate change, protecting the biosphere, and maybe keeping an eye out for some of those smaller asteroids.

But if these scientists are correct, no matter what, life on Earth is going to survive a long, long time.

So take that, universe, you're stuck with us.

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Courtesy of Woodell Productions

This speech had all the things, and the Maid of Honor wasn't even there

May we all have a best friend like Ally Lothman.

Lothman had just given birth to her first child (according to Today.com) and was unable to make it to the wedding of her lifelong best friend Michelle Levenson. But Lothman’s Maid of Honor duties were still gloriously fulfilled.

A now-viral video, posted to TikTok by wedding photography and videography company Woodell Productions, shows that even though Lothman couldn’t celebrate in person, her FaceTimed wedding toast managed to bring everyone at the reception—along with everyone who watched online—to tears.
Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

People think everyone should experience these things 'at least once in their lifetime'

Things like seeing an eclipse and having a true best friend make life worth living.

Representative Images from Canva

Here are some things everyone should experience once in their lifetime

If there’s one thing human beings all have in common, it’s our shared impermanence. No matter our race, gender, social class, wealth status, health regimen, moral code, political leaning, or any other divisive element, we all get one life. One life to hopefully fill with as many memorable, soul nourishing, expansive experiences as possible.

But let’s face it, there are more experiences available that there are days and hours in which to do them. Therefore, we have to use discernment. So, which experiences are truly must-haves in our all-too-limited time on this planet?

The answers to this question are undoubtedly personal, but perhaps some things, just like the inevitable exit of mortal coil, are universal.

According to a recent discussion on Ask Reddit, here are things one must absolutely “experience at least once in their lifetime”:
Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Helicopter's thermal imaging helps save a young autistic girl lost in a Florida swamp

“I just love how the deputy greeted her. What a beautiful ending. You guys are the best!”

A deputy locates a missing girl in a Florida swamp.

A 5-year-old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) wandered off into a swamp near Tampa, Florida, around 5:00 pm on Monday, February 26. The good news is that the girl was saved in about an hour thanks to the work of some brave sheriff’s officers and their incredible thermal technology.

The girl wandered from her home and was quickly reported missing by her family to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff quickly dispatched its aviation unit that used thermal imaging technology to scan the nearby swamplands to try to find the young girl before nightfall.

Thermal imaging technology captures images based on the heat emitted by objects, allowing us to see temperature differences even in the dark, making it super handy for night vision and heat detection. The thermal technology helped the officers quickly identify the girl from high above the trees.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

10 things kids get in trouble for that adults get away with all the time

Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Kids know when we're being hypocritical.

Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.

Keep ReadingShow less