First Spider to Return from Space Dies

FAIRFAX, Va. (December 3, 2012) – Nefertiti, the first jumping spider to travel from Earth to outer space and come back alive has died according to the Huffington Post.

Known by many as the spidernaut, Nefertiti circled the Earth more than 1,580 times, traveling millions of miles during her journeys.

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."