"Spiders in Space" Fly to ISS Aboard STS-134

"Spiders in Space" Fly to ISS Aboard STS-134

In 2003 Australia sent orb weaving spiders into space aboard STS-107. Unfortunately the shuttle was lost, and the spiders were not returned to Earth, but the information collected during the mission raised a lot of scientific questions and the experiment was repeated on STS-126. 

In April 2011, another orb weaver spider will join the STS-134 crew aboard space shuttle Endeavour for a trip to the International Space Station. Once on board the space station, the spider will star in an exciting experiment to observe its behaviors in microgravity. The spider will live in a safe environment that provides food and water. The special habitat allows the spider to be monitored continuously. Real-time photos and video of the spider will be transmitted from the space station back to Earth and made available on the “Spiders in Space” Mission page.

Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has created a complete curricular module. It will allow students and teachers worldwide to conduct their own classroom investigations comparing ground-based spiders with those living in microgravity on the space station. The teacher’s guide for the Spiders in Space module can be downloaded free from the  “Spiders in Space” Mission page.  It provides information on the orb weaver spider, housing and care for a spider, and setting up a classroom-based investigation with your students. Questions about the Spiders in Space module should be directed to Greg Vogt at vogt@bcm.edu.