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Wed, Dec 05, 2012

Smithsonian Spidernaut Has Died

Nefertiti Had Spent 100 Days In Space Aboard The ISS

It's not often that the death of a spider would make the news, but just about everyone would agree that this was a very special spider. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History said Monday that Nefertiti, the “Spidernaut,” which had spent 100 days in space as part of a student-initiated experiment aboard the ISS, had died.

“Neffi” was introduced to the public 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 had made the trip as part of an experiment conceived by a student to study how she would react to microgravity. 

In the early morning hours Monday, before the museum opened, 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.
 
In a news release, the museum said "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."

(Image provided by NASA)

FMI: www.si.edu/

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