Feeds

Butterflies In Spaaaace!

Gatorade-quaffing Painted Ladies to fly to ISS

Business security measures using SSL

NASA boffins have announced plans to fly a suitcase full of live butterflies up to the International Space Station, in a project appropriately named "Butterflies In Space".

Scientists in charge of Butterflies In Space have announced that a special space insect habitat will be launched into orbit aboard space shuttle Atlantis next week. In the "suitcase-sized" Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) will travel Monarch and Painted Lady "butterflynauts", as well as larvae which will pupate and then emerge fully-fledged while actually in space.

"Our continuing goal is to inspire students around the country in science, technology, engineering and math," said Louis Stodieck, principal boffin on the project.

The idea is that thousands of schoolchildren across the States will study the effects of living in space on the butterflies, in many cases comparing the insectonauts' progress and lifestyle with Earthbound examples of the same species in their classrooms.

According to the project's website, this is not merely a case of NASA sending butterflies into space just because they can. No, there's valuable scientific research to be done here:

It will be instructive to see how monarchs function in a microgravity environment in which near weightlessness is the prevailing condition... if monarchs perform all life functions normally, in spite of the near weightless conditions, it will tell us that there are aspects of the monarch’s nervous control and physiology that allow for adjustments under such adverse conditions.

The many classroom butterflies down on Earth may suffer an equally grisly fate to the spacegoing ones, it would appear. According to the Butterflies In Space Q&A:

Releases are not advised. These are not migratory monarchs and it is already too late in the season. The next challenge might be to see how long you can keep your monarchs alive. They can be maintained at home or in the classroom on Gatorade for months, if relatively inactive.

The scientists don't specify that the astro-butterflies will also be fed on Gatorade, but do mention an "artificial diet that will work in transit and on the ISS", presumably not unrelated to the well-known sports drink.

There's more - so much more - on Butterflies In Space here and here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.