A jumping spider has made the leap from floating in space to springing into the Smithsonian.
The "Johnson Jumper" ("Phidippus johnsoni") spider is the first of its species to return from a mission into space and successfully readjust to life on Earth. Named "Nefertiti," the arachnid astronaut, or "Spidernaut," lived for 100 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Its mission over, the spider has now landed in the "Insect Zoo" at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where it will live out the rest of its life — estimated to be about six months — on display with other live arachnids and insects.
Robert Pearlman Editor
Posts: 25819 From: Houston, TX Registered: Nov 1999
posted 12-03-2012 06:24 PM
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History statement
It is with sadness that we announce the death of Nefertiti, the "Spidernaut." "Neffi" was introduced to visitors Thursday, Nov. 29, after traveling in space on a 100-day, 42-million-mile expedition en route to and aboard the International Space Station. She was there to take part in a student-initiated experiment on microgravity.
This morning, before museum hours, a member of the Insect Zoo staff discovered Neffi had died of natural causes. Neffi lived for 10 months. The lifespan of the species, Phidippus johnsoni, can typically reach up to 1 year.
The loss of this special animal that inspired so many imaginations will be felt throughout the museum community. The body of Neffi will be added to the museum's collection of specimens where she will continue to contribute to the understanding of spiders.