November 21, 2008

Spiders Venture To Outer Space

Aboard the International Space Station, spiders are living as an educational project and they seem to have gotten the hang of weightlessness.

Their first orbital webs were messy.  However, a week into their flight, televised images were sent back to Earth to show their progress.

"We noticed the spider made a symmetrical web," space station commander Mike Fincke told ground controllers on Friday. "We're really amazed that the spider could adapt to space so quickly."

The spider video became the favorite form of entertainment for engineers overseeing the station's science experiments from Earth.

"We used to be your major form of entertainment," Fincke replied. "We've been overtaken by spiders."

Space shuttle Endeavour lifted off from Florida last Friday on a 15-day mission and delivered the orb-weaving spiders.

The spiders will remain aboard the space station so their progress can be monitored.  Their chamber includes a supply of fruit flies and a video camera.


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