Thursday, November 20, 2008

One of our spiders is missing ... arachnoid adventure in space

I'm sure Pete Baker will shortly make a longer comment about it over on Slugger, but there's breaking news that Nasa have lost misplaced one of the two spiders that were ferried up this week on the Shuttle to the space station orbiting the Earth.

The Times have published a beautiful article explaining the whys and wherefores (should that be curds and whey?) of this arachnoid adventure, together with some commentary on the art of zero gravity web-spinning.

... the lead spider is so confused by the zero-gravity conditions that it has filled its tank with a tangle of silk to try to stop itself floating around and cure its space sickness, obscuring the search for the runaway.

The pair were prepared for their space adventure by scientists at the University of Colorado who hope to help answer school children’s questions about how spiders spin webs in space. The answer would appear to be, ‘with difficulty’.

Spinning his way out of the crisis to listening media, Kirk Shireman - Nasa’s deputy space station programme manager - told the Times.

“I’m sure we’ll find him spinning a web sometime here in the next few days."

They're a lot less likely to find the tool kit that drifted off earlier this week. Let's hope they take more care with the Buzz Lightyear toy that made the trip up with them to the space station in June.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I greatly enjoyed the film of the toolkit drifting off into space. Is this an example of the multi-tasking that women are supposed to be so much better at than men?