In 2007, a little known creature called a tardigrade became the first animal to survive exposure to space.
Tardigrades are microscopic animals commonly known as water bears.
…[T]he Tardkiss experiment will expose colonies of tardigrade to different levels of ionising radiation, determined using an instrument called a dosimeter, at different points during the spaceflight mission.
The results from Tardkiss will enable researchers to determine how radiation dosage effects the way cells work.
I understand that the biological taxonomy is at the root of the name here, but still… Tardkiss? Is that a name for a serious space mission, or a dare dreamed up by obnoxious middle schoolers?
I guess no one explained to the researchers that we don’t use That Word anymore.
That’s the only problem I have with the mission, though – the water bear clearly belongs in space. It looks like one of those weird Star Wars creatures Lucas made out of a drop cloth and the viewing apparatus of a microscope, an obscure dude that they plug into one scene just so they can make an action figure out of him. And then obsessive fans write up an exhaustive backstory about how the water bear once joined forces with some other obscure character to fend off three more obscure characters.
At least Lucas didn’t name any of the prequels “Star Wars: Kiss of the Tardigrade.”