Beresheet and Arno Schmidt
It goes without saying that we are deeply admiring the mathematical and engineering performance of an endeavour like the Beresheet moon lander expedition. But things become more complicated when pondering about the tardigrade add-on to the expedition which was, as we understand it, only a minor and accidental part of the endeavour.
Let's have a look at the basic Beresheet facts first:
Fig. 1: One of our older moon portraits, taken in the very center of the city of Munich. The digital camera was linked to a Russion 1,000 mm mirror objective in order to perforn this task. The red arrow in the picture is marking the assumed crash position of the Beresheet lander in the Northern part of Mare Serenitatis. And the neighbouring "C" is marking a famous spot in Arno Schmidt's moon fantasies.
Fig. 2: Symbol photomicrograph, illustrating the tardigrade freight of Beresheet - tardigrades in the dry state, so-called tuns. Typical length 0.2-0.3 mm. We are sorry to say that we couldn't find a single picture of the actual Beresheet tardigrade freight but we assume that it consisted of tardigrade tuns similar to those shown in the image - with the main difference that the Beresheet tardigrade tuns were not red, agreed. The sad point is that those moon tardigrades cannot become actively alive without water and oxygen, both of which are not present on moon. Moreover, the dry state is defined by mother nature in a manner that it shouldn't last longer than a few years, perhaps 10 at most. After this time a tardigrade revival from the dry state might still be possible but the chances that it is actually happening are very, very low.
The tardigrade freight became known in August 2019 by an article in the famous Wired magazine. It became clear that the tardigrades had not been within the core part of the mission, but instead were an unofficial add-on. Of course many international magazines closed in, merely showing some SEM (scanning electron microscope) images of active tardigrades killed for the SEM preparation, thus suggesting that the tardigrades were actually still actively living on the moon - which is simply nonsense, of course: you see - no water, no revival. The sober conclusion is that those tardigrades transported to the moon have a chance of zero to enjoy life further on. But of course, if they should have survived the crash, they might by picked up in theory by some extraterrestrial beings or by you when you will be travelling to the moon next week!
Fig. 3: A travel giude for your next journey to the moon (in German, sorry), with the subtitle "Travel preparation, travel and arrival on the moon". All of this is fiction and parody, of course.
So we have to sum up that the Israeli Beresheet engineers followed more serious objectives
and that the tardigrade add-on was merely a curiosity. Nevertheless there is a positive
dream component in the tardigrade endeavour which reminds us of the "lunatic" side
of Arno Schmidt:
Fig. 4: Visolett magnifiers, both made in the 1930s, the left one in brass housing, the right one fitted in brand-new polystyrene.
But probably Arno Schmidt didn't know anything about tardigrades ...
Sources and internet links:
© Text, images and video clips by
Martin Mach (email@example.com).