Recovery was steady but slow, the researchers write in the journal Cryobiology: "SB-1 first showed slight movement in its 4th pair of legs on the first day after rehydration. This progressed to twisting of the body from day 5 along with movement in its 1st and 2nd pairs of legs, but the movements remained slow. After starting to attempt to lift itself on day 6, SB-1 started to slowly crawl on the agar surface of the culture well on day 9, and started to eat the algal food provided the culture plate on day 13."
By Day 21, SB-1 even began developing eggs; it laid 19, of which 14 hatched. SB-2, alas, had by then perished. But an egg that had also been retrieved from the moss, and which the researchers called SB-3, hatched and the tardigrade that emerged laid 15 eggs of its own, seven of which hatched into healthy offspring.
The next goal that the researchers have set for themselves is to uncover the why and the how: What, for example, was the process that took place over the first week after thawing before the tardigrades began to move? "We want to unravel the mechanism for (tardigrades') long-term survival," the lead researcher told the Asahi Shimbun.