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World’s First “Spidernaut” Lands at Smithsonian

Natural History’s Insect Zoo Hosts Live Space-traveling Spider
November 29, 2012

The new Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Kirk Johnson, had only been on the job for 26 days when he got an urgent message about a special mission: retrieve the world’s first “Spidernaut.” A jumping spider of the species Phidippus johnsoni recently returned from a 100-day stay in space en route to and as a resident aboard the International Space Station. She is the first jumping spider to return from space and successfully readjust to life on Earth. The spider was the focus of a student-initiated experiment and needed to land somewhere so it could be displayed for audiences to see and enjoy. The National Museum of Natural History’s popular Insect Zoo was a natural choice for the world’s first-ever Spidernaut. Johnson was able to personally escort the Spidernaut from Colorado to Washington, D.C., to take up residence at the museum for the rest of her life.