Can Spiders Survive in Space?

When NASA decided to send spiders to the International Space Station, they wondered how they would handle the zero-gravity environment. They had to find out, so they decided to do an experiment.

In the zero-gravity environment, the spiders were able to build webs. These webs were symmetrical, with the center of the web being closer to the middle than it would be in normal gravity. Normally, spiders put the main node of the web towards the top.

However, in the space station, the spiders tended to build webs on top of each other. They were also more irregular. This was a surprise to researchers.

Scientists at BioServe Space Technologies’ labs in Boulder, Colorado, had a similar experience with spiders. The fruit flies that they grow as food for their spiders in space reproduced at an uncontrollable rate. Flies covered the floor of the case, making it difficult to see the spiders.

After the mishaps of 2008, a new experiment was devised. A researcher at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science was involved in the project.

This experiment involved two different species of spider. The male was sent to the ISS, and the female was held on Earth. Both of them were exposed to the same conditions. Despite the mishaps, the scientists did learn something about the behavior of the spiders in zero-gravity.

They found that the spiders used the lamplight as an anchor point. Without the light, the spiders could not determine the direction they were moving in.