Space spider dies in D.C. after surviving 42 million miles in outer space

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A spider sent 42 million miles through space as part of a NASA-sponsored YouTube Space Lab contest has died after returning to Earth. It was transported to the Smithsonian's Insect Zoo in Washington D.C. last week, and had passed away by natural causes on Monday.

This news comes courtesy of the Boulder Daily Camera. The spider, Nefertiti, was chosen as part of an experiment created to determine whether a spider dependent on gravity would be able to adapt to its surroundings and eat in micro-gravity.

The spider did end up surviving in her sealed space environment on the International Space Station. Nefertiti was a member of the species Phidippus johnsoni, which has an expected lifespan of a year. She died at 10 months old.

The project was thought up by Amr Mohamed, an 18-year-old from Egypt, and eventually was designed by Colorado Univeristy. In his Meet the Winner YouTube video, Mohamed said, "I have always been fascinated by science because with a handful of equations, I can explain the world around me. The idea of sending an experiment to space is the most exciting thing that I have ever heard in my life."

Photo/Video credit: NASA