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Syntrichia caninervis

Syntrichia caninervis:

Scientists have identified a species of desert moss called ‘Syntrichia caninervis’ that could be a game-changer for future space exploration and colonisation efforts.

  • Syntrichia caninervis is one of the most abundant desert mosses in the world.
  • It possesses remarkable tolerance to multiple environmental stress factors (drought, cold, and radiation).
  • Extreme desiccation tolerance: recover within seconds after >98% water loss.
  • Extraordinary freezing tolerance: withstand −196°C ultra-low temperature.
  • Super resistance to gamma radiation: with half-lethal dose estimated to be 5,000 Gy.
  • It has a widespread global distribution.
  • It is predominant in dryland regions, including the Gurbantunggut and Tengger Deserts in China and the Mojave Desert in the United States.
  • caninervis crusts are also present in mountainous regions of the Pamir, Tibet, Middle East, Antarctica and circumpolar regions.
  • It has a unique adaptation, it uses a tiny hair (awn) on the end of each leaf to collect water, in addition to that collected by the leaves themselves.