Jumping Space Spider to Ride Dragon Home: DNews Nugget

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Cleopatra Lives! In July, the Japanese H-2 Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV-3), nicknamed Kounotori 3, delivered cargo and two student science experiments to the International Space Station. One experiment, designed by Amr Mohamed, 18, of Alexandria, Egypt, set out to investigate how the hunting habits of zebra and redback jumping spiders change in microgravity.

Today, as announced by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield via Twitter, the zebra spider — nicknamed ‘Cleopatra’ — is alive and well:

Space Spider – ‘Cleopatra’ lives! Eating the last of her fruit flies, waiting for a ride back to Earth on Dragon-1 twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/… — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) October 8, 2012

Last night, SpaceX’s first official cargo run to the space station blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, sending supplies inside the Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Once emptied after berthing with the orbiting outpost on Wednesday, the Dragon will be filled with experiments and equipment to be sent back to Earth. Amongst the payload will be Cleopatra after an apparently successful mission in orbit. The fate of Cleopatra’s buddy, the redback jumping spider ‘Nefertiti’, is currently unknown. via Twitter, The Daily Planet

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