View Full Version : Thursday Trivia: Space Spiders

Star lover
June 7th, 2018, 07:37 AM
Two common cross spiders (Araneus diadematus) named Anita and Arabella went into space with NASA astronauts on a Skylab mission in 1973.

They were part of an experiment devised by Judith Miles, a high school student, to test whether weightlessness would affect a spider's ability to spin a web.

At first nothing happened. The spiders swam madly in place thanks to the lack of gravity, but after only two days, Arabella began building a web. Eventually Anita spun one herself shortly afterwards, and though the webs were finer than the customary ones spun here on earth, they weren’t really all that different. The discovery revealed quite a bit about the effect of zero gravity on motor response.

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Unfortunatly both spiders died in orbit, but their sacrifce gave scientists quite a bit to think about, and those lasting answers have since help to further the study of zero gravity.

After they died, their bodies were placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.


OK, spiders aren't definitely now my favorite, but......one named Anita? Who'd a thought?

June 7th, 2018, 08:08 AM
I think it's amazing a high school student thought this up. I wonder what she became.

June 7th, 2018, 09:03 AM
Young people have minds that have not yet been bent by the knowledge that has been before them

June 7th, 2018, 09:22 AM
Pretty cool!!

June 7th, 2018, 11:27 PM
Great story! Thank you for telling about your namesake and her friend. :icon_rofl:

But seriously, that is a great story.