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  STS-129/ISS 21: "Butterflynauts" in space

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Author Topic:   STS-129/ISS 21: "Butterflynauts" in space
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-09-2009 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BioEd Online:
Butterflies in Space

On November 16, 2009, Painted Lady butterflies will fly aboard space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station. The butterflies will spend several months in space as part of an exciting experiment to observe their life cycles and behaviors in microgravity.

The butterflies will live in a special habitat, which provides a safe environment, food and water.

This project is funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), and is a partnership of NSBRI, BioServe Space Technologies (University of Colorado) and Baylor College of Medicine. Additional support provided by Houston Endowment Inc. and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Follow the current "butterflynauts" on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to download the entire free Butterflies in Space Teacher's Guide and to register for updates about the mission.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-20-2009 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Butterflies in Space Photo Gallery

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-25-2009 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A clip from the International Space Station where the "Butterflies in Space" experiment is being conducted.

This experiment was made possible through the generous and on-going support of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) and the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-30-2009 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first butterfly to emerge. The reddish blot on the window is meconium, a waste product expelled during emergence.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-02-2009 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
National Space Biomedical Research Institute release
Four 'Butterflynauts' Emerge on Space Station

As of Dec. 1, four Painted Lady butterflies are living aboard the International Space Station.

These "butterflynauts" are part of an educational experiment that was launched Nov. 16 on space shuttle Atlantis and transferred to the Space Station. Students of all ages have been following the tiny crew's development from larvae to butterflies.

"All four larvae formed chrysalises and two emerged as butterflies on Nov. 30. Two more butterflies emerged overnight," said Stefanie Countryman, BioServe Space Technologies payload mission manager. The experiment is flying in BioServe's Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, a suitcase-sized payload used to conduct space experiments.

In classrooms across the U.S., students have set up habitats and are replicating the space experiment. Their objective is to compare the growth and behavior of ground-based butterfly larvae and adult butterflies with those living in the microgravity environment of space.

BioServe is releasing video of the space butterflies as it becomes available. The first video from Nov. 30 shows only one of the butterflies. Video will be posted to YouTube and BioEd Online (http://www.bioedonline.org). Photos of the butterflies are also available on BioEd Online.

"The larvae didn't seem to have problems navigating and feeding in the space environment. Now, the opportunities to investigate microgravity's effect on adult butterfly behavior, wing development and flight are beginning," said Dr. Nancy Moreno, professor of allied health sciences and senior associate director of Baylor College of Medicine's (BCM) Center for Educational Outreach.

The ground-based portion of this activity is sponsored by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and involves the cooperative effort of several science and education organizations. Project partners include BioServe Space Technologies of University of Colorado at Boulder, BCM, Orion's Quest, The Butterfly Pavilion, Challenger Learning Center of Colorado and NASA. Additional support is provided by the Houston Endowment Inc., and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

A free Butterflies in Space teacher's guide can be downloaded from BioEd Online. The guide provides information on ordering larvae, along with simple instructions for creating a low-cost habitat and caring for the larvae and butterflies. The guide provides examples of scientific investigations so that students can design and carry out their own explorations.

"The photos and video are being archived, so classrooms can participate in the experiment at any time and compare their classroom larvae with photos of space larvae at the same developmental stage," Moreno said.

Through the educational activity, students learn the skill of scientific observation by making detailed sketches of the larvae as they develop. The open-ended experiment also teaches students to ask scientific questions, observe details and differences, and use evidence to support their own conclusions.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-04-2009 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Dec. 2, a Painted Lady butterfly attempts to fly in zero-g:

And from Dec. 3, a Monarch butterfly floats weightless:

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-24-2009 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Discovery News: Space Butterflies Dead
...although it's hard to call this a 'successful' conclusion to the experiment, a message posted on the National Space Biomedical Research Institute Facebook page (on Dec. 15) indicates that everything went according to plan:

"The four Painted Lady butterflies on the International Space Station have completed their normal life spans."

In other words: The butterflies died as expected.

Now there's a national student science poster competition (deadline on Feb. 10, 2010) to remember this outreach experiment that hopefully enthralled many young scientist minds.

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