How can a tiny mosquito survive the force of an incoming raindrop—which, to them, is like a three-ton ball of water falling at 20mph? "They're basically plummeting comets falling all around you," if you're the bug, a scientist tells NPR. He and colleagues set out to discover what happens when the raindrop hits, and the results were surprising: For a thousandth of a second, they essentially take a ride on the droplet.
"So as the raindrop falls, rather than resisting the raindrop, they basically join together kind of like a stowaway on this comet," researcher David Hu notes. "As a result they get very, very little force." Just after the drop hits, their wings catch the air again. To make their findings, researchers shot the mosquitoes with water jets and recorded the process on special, speedy video. "It's hard to see the expression on a mosquito's face, but they definitely survived," Hu adds. "And most of them didn't even land—they continued flying as if nothing had happened." (Read more mosquito stories.)