The first spider to survive a space journey has died after just a few days of being exhibited at the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C.Museum officials announced the event on Monday, on their Facebook page.
NASA's “Spidernaut” Nefertiti, aged 10 months, died in natural conditions after having traveled about 42 million miles in an International Space Station (ISS) mission that lasted for 100 days, Mashable reports.
“This spider, and the idea behind flying it in space, bears witness to the breadth of imagination in young, inquiring minds around the world,” museum officials declared.
Nefertiti was launched to ISS four months ago, as part of a YouTube project intended to determine whether the spider could manage to feed itself in space and endure the harsh environment for a long term.
The experiment proved successful, the spider managing to adapt both to the orbiting laboratory condition and to the return to gravity.
However, when settled in the Natural History Museum and exhibited to visitors along with other insects within the “Insect Zoo” gallery, the “Johnson Jumper” didn't survive.
“This morning, before museum hours, a member of the Insect Zoo staff discovered Neffi had died of natural causes,” museum officials announced.
“Neffi lived for 10 months. The lifespan of the species, Phidippus johnsoni, can typically reach up to 1 year.”
Nefertiti was named after the famous ancient Egyptian queen, since the idea of it being launched to space came from Amr Mohamed, an 18-year-old boy from Alexandria, Egypt.
“The loss of this special animal that inspired so many imaginations will be felt throughout the museum community,” museum officials wrote on their Facebook page.
“The body of Neffi will be added to the museum’s collection of specimens where she will continue to contribute to the understanding of spiders.”
Other insects had been launched to space before, such as Cleopatra, Arabella or Anita, but none of them made it back to Earth.