These terrifying-sounding creatures aren't aliens but in fact microscopic Earthlings known as tardigrades, who likely survived a crash landing on the lunar surface by Israel's Beresheet probe in April, the organization responsible for their trip said Tuesday.
Based on an analysis of the spacecraft's trajectory and the composition of the device the micro-animals were stored in, "we believe the chances of survival for the tardigrades...are extremely high," Nova Spivack, founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, told AFP.
The non-profit is dedicated to spreading backups of human knowledge and Earth's biology throughout the Solar System, a quest it likens to the creation of an "Encyclopedia Galactica" as a gift to the future.
"Tardigrades are ideal to include because they are microscopic, multicellular, and one of the most durable forms of life on planet Earth," Spivack said.
He added that the diminutive creatures, which are under a millimeter (0.04 inches) in size, had been dehydrated to place them in suspended animation and then "encased in an epoxy of Artificial Amber, and should be revivable in the future."