NASA grieves over the loss of space spider "Nefertiti" last Monday at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. after surviving 100 days in outer space aboard the International Space Station.
The experiment mission was designed to conclude if a spider dependent on gravity while catching their food can settle in and survive in micro gravity.
According to the Boulder Daily report, "Neffi, of a species that typically enjoys a lifespan of about one year, was 10 months old. Monday's passing of the so-called "spidernaut," was due to natural causes. The Smithsonian conceded that no necropsy was performed on the deceased arachnid."
The first-ever jumping space spider traveled 42 million miles through the outer space before finally returning home to planet Earth in October.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams took care of Nefertiti while they were both on the orbit expedition. With the activation of small plungers, Williams could occasionally release waves of fruit flies into the space spider's habitat.
In space, Nefertiti proved that her eight-legged species "Phidippus johnsoni" can survive the microgravity space just like human beings. According to the Boulder Daily Camera report, the space spider was able to hunt down fruit flies in her sealed space environment on the International Space Station.
The space spider experiment was part of NASA's sponsored YouTube Space Lab contest where student-proposed studies were chosen from the thousands submitted worldwide by video.
"The unexpected loss of this special animal that inspired so many imaginations will be felt throughout the museum community. The body of Nefertiti will be added to the museum's collection of specimens where she will continue to contribute to our understanding of spiders," Kelly Carnes of the Smithsonian museum told the Los Angeles Times.