Monday, August 13, 2012

Spiders On The International Space Station

Yikes! Spiders on the International Space Station

Arachnophobia is not for astronauts on the International Space Station! In her latest blog entry, Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Suni Williams recounts her observations of the spiders residing in the orbiting laboratory as she and her fellow crew members awaited the arrival of an unpiloted Progress resupply ship, anticipating fresh fruit and care packages.

"Cleopatra and Nefertiti are our two spiders. Cleopatra, the zebra spider seems to be either very clever or very shy. She has disappeared. She was the first one I met and was pretty active when I first saw her. She is sort of small, like the size of the holes where the fruit flies live…so, we think she was maybe really hungry and went into one of the holes. If so, she was having a buffet in there. There are cameras on them in the habitat so the ground can watch and they saw evidence that there was webbing in one of the fruit fly holes. My only worry about her is that she will eat too much, grow a lot and get stuck in there…the life of a Spidernaut.

"Nefertiti on the other hand is too big. She is sort of scary; in fact I am so glad I am not a fruit fly. I opened up the habitat and actually saw her running around at full speed looking for something to eat. It was difficult to even get a steady picture. Then a fruit fly came out. Nefertiti stopped, she stalked and then she pounced. It was amazing to see this with my own two eyes. Apparently they inject some acidic fluid in the fly body, which liquefies the insides, and then she sucks everything out of the fly. The only thing left is the carcass…and I saw many carcasses floating around in her twisted web. Note her 4 eyes and the fruit fly in her mouth! I was told she has excellent vision. Again, I am so happy to not be a fly – reminded me of that futuristic movie Starship Troopers. Yikes!"

To read Williams' blog in its entirety, go to
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Monday, July 30, 2012

7 Minutes of Terror - Landing on Mars on Sunday!">

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Last Shuttle Launch

"It truly was an awesome, spectacular launch," added Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, who looked ahead to plans for future development beyond the shuttle program as space station operations continue.

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The is the end of one program and the beginning of many others directed toward extended space exploration! Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

NASA Spacecraft Confirms Martian Water, Mission Extended

"We have water," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. "We've seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted."