Most people remotely familiar with pop culture can tell you that Spider-man gained his powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Comics fans will tell you that the Fantastic Four gained theirs after the group of scientist-astronauts were hit by excessive cosmic radiation after getting out of the Earth’s protective atmosphere.
The childhood dreams of super powers may have been momentarily sparked in astronauts when, during 2008, a pair of garden orb weaver spiders were brought up to the ISS for experiments to test the weaving of webs in zero gravity… and one went missing.
The catchy “Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert – 03: Spiders and Butterflies (CSI-03)” of NASA involved bringing spiders and butterflies into space to test their responses. It was one of a number of outreach experiments devised to be viewed in classrooms.
What was not planned was that one of the pair would wander out of the controlled location.
“We don’t believe that it’s escaped the overall payload enclosure,” said Kirk Shireman, NASA’s deputy station program manager. “I’m sure we’ll find him spinning a web sometime here in the next few days.”Fox News
The notion of a spider, suffused by cosmic radiation, biting someone and giving them superpowers had to go through one of the astronaut’s minds.
Then again, it also sounds like the plot of a 1950s horror movie, with the spider gaining intelligence, huge size, or other abilities with which to terrorize those on board, so maybe being imaginative wouldn’t have been a complete boon for the 2008 astronauts.
No publicized reports were made of the spider being found. Perhaps it’s still up there… but probably not, as orb weavers only live for about a year.
At least, the un-irradiated ones do.
Question of the night: who’s your favorite superhero/superheroine?