NASA researchers first sent spiders into space in the 1970s, so an agricultural-based experiment was rationalized in 2008 to raise science awareness among high school students. Before a spider made its way out of its pen.
But, as is often the case, a series of experiments on spiders in space can simply be written off as a mistake, a byproduct of unexpected science.
Someone needs to tell the spiders about the scientific method …
The experiment seemed simple enough – spiders would be allowed to live in a pair of The International Space Station, and researchers will focus on how they accommodated life in the microgravity environment.
In a separate experiment, mice launched into the ISS became accustomed to conditions in space after a few days, and soon Invented his game. Spiders are very different than mice, and the response of Arachinds was not fickle.
Spiders on Earth form asymmetric webs, with their centers closer to the top edge than the middle. The eight-legged hunter then stops at the top half of his webs, head downward. In this way, gravity assists the spider as it runs towards its prey, entangled in the web.
In space, however, the spiders were Left without gravity To guide them.
A pair of arachnauts including the main theme, A. Metpeira Labyrinth, And a backup spider, a Larinioides pattaius, Was launched at the International Space Station (ISS).
The backup spider, perhaps unhappy with the co-star’s position, sets off, entering the main room of the experiment. The astronauts, unable to open the chamber due to security reasons, were not able to separate pairs of spiders into space. Before long, webs built by spiders were enlarged, as the two Arachintes joined each other.
Fruits grown as food for spiders in space react to their abnormal conditions, breeding at an unprecedented rate. Eventually, the larvae overrun, and their reproduction is released from the container, which covers the floor of the case. Moving into the experimental chamber with a pair of already angry spiders, the larvae soon cover the chamber’s window, preventing Astronaut From seeing spiders or their webs.
This experiment probably needs more spiders now
A second experiment in 2011, designed to follow up on the 2008 study, was designed to learn from the 2008 accidents.
This time, the researchers used four spiders of the same species – Trichoniphila clavipes, Commonly known as Golden Silk Orb Weavers or Banana Spiders. Inside the two separate chambers were flown to the ISS, attempting to avoid an earlier problem with prison-breaking arachnids. The other pair were housed as a control group on the ground at the Bioserve Space Technology Lab of the University of Colorado Boulder, under conditions similar to those in space (other than that) Gravity).
Problems started around this time when two female spiders turned male. These animals were selected when they were juveniles, at a time when sex is surprisingly difficult for spiders.
Differences in size and body composition between adult males and females of this species are significant. In a stroke of luck, one male and one female were each on the ground in space and in the experiment.
In each case three cameras took pictures of the spiders every five minutes, as the animals gathered and parted webs. Out of a hundred of these webs, 14,500 images were analyzed to see how the microgravity of the space was grown in the atmosphere compared to those that were created in space. Earth.
Several webs built a few weeks after the arrival of spiders on the ISS were chaotic and irregular. And as might be expected, most webs built by spiders on the ISS were less heterogeneous than those designed by their compatriots on Earth. In addition, the pictures show that the Arakanats do not come downstream as often as their terrestrial brothers lying in wait for prey.
“As these asymmetries are linked to gravity, we expected spiders to experience no gravity to make symmetric webs and show random orientation while sitting on the hub. We found that most, built in zero gravity, were not exactly symmetric at all, “the researchers describe in an article published in the journal Science of nature.
However, the spiders changed their web design considerably based on the light pattern – the ones that were built under the lamplight were as odd as those Earth. Under the lamplight, the spiders also faced mainly the bottom while waiting for flies to ambush in their webs.
“We have not anticipated that light will play a role in orienting spiders in space. We were very lucky to have lamps attached on top of the chamber and not on different sides. Otherwise, we would not have discovered the effect of light on the symmetry of the webs in zero gravity, ”Dr. Samuel Zsokke Basel University explains.
This unexpected result showed that spiders use light as a guide to show them how to “up” the effects of gravity disappear.
She is a good spider, works as a web designer…
With David Bowie’s claims that spiders aside from Mars, it might not seem likely that the Arachinds would have developed an instrument to “properly” design a web in space. Because spiders form webs and catch prey in the dark as the day progresses Light The way they build the webs has no role. Although it does not seem likely that nature has plans for spiders in space, there may be a good terrestrial reason for the skill.
Trichonephila It is to orient itself on Earth using an organ that registers the relative positions of the front and back of the body of the arachnid. When building a web, this situation changes continuously over time. Therefore, you can use the position of spiders on Earth Sun They move in different directions and in different positions as a secondary tool, directing them.
“There is no need to chase him. She is sitting quietly, her patience is a consummate force; She waits for him to come on her own, and then she drives them away, feeding them poison, from which they cannot escape. Spiders – So Necessary And Yet Too Misunderstood. ”- Donna Lynn Hope
The first spiders in space arrived at Skylab in July 1973, as part of an experiment first designed by high school student Judith Miles NASA Skylab Student Experimentation Competition.
Gravity plays an important role in animal behavior on Earth. This familiar force directs the growth of plant roots, and plays an important role in Honeybee’s dance. Gravity is also the reason elephants move on the hills, rather than on them. Until an elephant receives the money to launch it into space, we will never know how the pachydermottes will react to survive from Earth.
As humans start to populate Solar System And beyond, we are sure to bring animals into space with us. Let’s hope you enjoy traveling more than two angry spiders into space twelve years ago.
This article was originally published Cosmic partner by James maynard, Founder and publisher of The Cosmic Companion. He is a New England native desert rat in Tucson, where he lives with his loving wife, Nicole, and Max the Cat. You can read this original piece here.
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