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Butterflies in Space

Monarchs in Space.......................(monarch2.jpg)

On December 8th, the first-ever Monarch butterflies to travel in space, burst out of their cocoons and took flight on board the International Space Station. Apparently it was a beautiful sight.

Monarchs in Space.......................(monarchNASABioServeUniversityofColorado2.jpg)

The space shuttle Atlantis delivered Monarch and Painted Lady larvae to the space station in November. The first butterflies to complete their entire life cycle in space, they're part of an educational experiment being followed by 170,000 school kids and 2,800 teachers back on Earth.

Monarchs in Space.......................(monarchNASABioServeUniversityofColorado.jpg)

Space station commander Jeff Williams beamed back video of the first butterfly to emerge, fluttering weightlessly. 'It's always beautiful to see a little bit of Earth up here,' he told Mission Control.

Unfortunately, due to the cramped accommodation on board, the butterflies were only expected to live four days, instead of the two weeks they'd normally live on Earth. I wonder if they have any idea where they are? RM

Images: NASA/BioServe, University of Colorado

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