The "spidernaut" Nefertiti passed away this week at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. The jumping spider (Phidippus johnsoni) was sent into space as the result of a video contest called YouTube Space Lab. Eighteen-year-old Amr Mohamed submitted a proposal to see if a spider could adapt to life on the the International Space Station (ISS).
At the ISS, Nefertiti adapted to the effects of weightlessness, caught prey, and continued regular feeding habits. After return to Earth, the spider lived out a normal life cycle.
Nefertiti will remain in the museum’s specimen collection, along with Arabella and Anita, the first spiders who spun webs in space on Skylab in 1973.