The "spidernaut" Nefertiti has died. It was 10 months old. A "Johnson Jumper" spider, it was sent on board the International Space Station in July as part of an experiment; researchers watched to see if the spider would adapt its feeding behavior to weightlessness (it did). Nefertiti was returned to Earth after a 100-day stay, and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History then placed the spider in its insect zoo. The display opened to the public on November 29, but the spider died of natural causes yesterday morning. Rest in peace, spidernaut. [SPACE.com]
The Smithsonian Institution, guardian of the nation’s historical awesomeness, is building a new archive of 3-D digital models for key pieces in its collection. It starts with a statue of Thomas Jefferson and ends, we sincerely hope, with full-scale replicas of every item in the National Air and Space Museum, which we can personally print out with a souped-up Makerbot.
For some, retirement means moving to Florida. For others, it means winding down one’s professional life and settling into a hobby. And for still others, it means having your forward reaction control system completely removed and thoroughly cleaned of all oxidizer chemicals and toxic fuels. So it is for the retired space shuttle Discovery, which is currently being broken down, cleaned, and reassembled for future display.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.