Tuesday, November 18, 2008

825p 11/17 Update: Gravitationally challenged spiders in space


Posted: 8:25 PM, 11/17/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-24 (11/17/08): Astronauts gear up for cargo module transfer to station
   SR-25 (11/17/08): Cargo module attached to space station
   SR-26 (11/17/08): MMT finds no need for 'focussed' heat shield inspection; spacewalk on tap Tuesday
   SR-27 (11/17/08): Gravitationally challenged spiders in space


8:25 PM, 11/17/08, Update: Gravitationally challenge spiders

Gravitationally challenged orb-weaving spiders aboard the international space station have not lost their ability to spin webs in weightlesness, but they seem to have lost their sense of symmetry.

An experiment designed for school kids, devoted to exploring the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly and the webs of orb-weaving spiders, was inspected today, prompting this exchange between the station and ground controllers:

"When the spider hab was removed from the CTV, Mike (Fincke) had made the comment that it was 'beautiful.' Does that mean that it was an organized-looking web, or just something really neat to see?" a controller asked.

"Yeah, the web was more or less three dimensional and it looks like it was all over the inside of the spider hab," station flight engineer Sandra Magnus replied. "We took a couple of pictures of it so hopefully they'll turn out."

"OK, so it was more of a tangled, disorganized-looking web than a standard, like Charlotte's web kind of web?"

"Exactly," Magnus agreed. "There was no symmetry that was noticeable in it."


Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-126 Status Reports:

CBS News STS-126 Quick-Look Page:

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:

NASA Shuttle Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
NASA Station Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html
Spaceflight Now: http://spaceflightnow.com/index.html
GoogleSatTrack: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/


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