With the Space Shuttle program coming quickly to an end, and with NASA’s funding in jeopardy, every bit of exospheric research counts. This is why the unusual experiment by the University of Colorado makes me smile. Butterflys are being grown aboard the International Space Station…thus the term “butterflynauts!”
Here what the National Space Biomedical Research Institute has to say: “Painted Lady butterflies will fly aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station (ISS). The butterflies will spend several months in space as part of an exciting experiment to observe their life cycles and behaviors in microgravity. We invite your class to participate! The butterflies will live in a special habitat, which provides a safe environment, food and water. Photos and video will be transmitted back to Earth and made available here.”
And, what makes this fun (and educational) is the fact that we can get frequent updates via Youtube. Here’s the latest video of the caterpillarnauts.
And stay updated on Twitter!
Somehow “Butterflies in Space” doesn’t quite have the ring that the old Muppets skit “Pigs in Space” does, but still, the fact that research about life cycles in zero gravity might lead to humans finally colonizing elsewhere is exciting!