These “butterflynauts” are part of an educational experiment that was launched late last year on space shuttle Atlantis and transferred to the Space Station. Students of all ages have been following the tiny crew’s development from larvae to butterflies.
“All four larvae formed chrysalises and two emerged as butterflies on November 30. Two more butterflies emerged overnight,” said Stefanie Countryman, BioServe Space Technologies payload mission manager. The experiment is flying in BioServe’s Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, a suitcase-sized payload used to conduct space experiments.
In classrooms across the US, students have set up habitats and are replicating the space experiment. Their objective is to compare the growth and behaviour of ground-based butterfly larvae and adult butterflies with those living in the microgravity environment of space. – National Space Biomedical Research Institute