Arabella, one of NASA’s first eight-legged astronauts, proved that weightlessness can’t stop her from weaving. In 1973, she blasted off into space on Skylab II as part of an experiment. Judith Miles, a high-school student from Massachusetts, suggested the study.
Since the spider uses its weight to determine how thick its web material should be, and uses wind and gravity to help construct it, Miles wondered what would happen if the spider was weightless.
On Arabella’s first day in orbit, microgravity threw her off. She spun sloppy webs. But by Day Three, she was spinning as if she were back home. Her webs were finer, but the pattern was the same, therefore proving that spiders can in fact spin Earth-like webs in space.
MAHINA: Mahina means “moon”.
The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, is a Hawaii State Government Aerospace Agency located in beautiful Hilo, Hawaii.
The Center is part of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) and conducts environmentally safe tests on Hawaii’s volcanic terrain to validate advanced space technologies under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).