First Spider to Return from Space DiesJanay Rickwalder
Monday, December 3, 2012
Nefertiti, the first jumping spider to travel from Earth to
space and come back alive has died according to the
Known by many as the spidernaut, Nefertiti circled the Earth
more than 1,580 times, traveling millions of miles during her
The Smithsonian released the following statement:
“It is with sadness that the
Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History announces the
death of Nefertiti, the “Spidernaut.” “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 was there to take part in a student-initiated
experiment on microgravity.
This morning, before museum hours, 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.
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."