Archive for the ‘Antstronomy’ Category

See here for a nice video from NASA on the space ants I mentioned a few days ago, as well as other information on the launch’s purpose. The article proposes the name “ant-ronauts”, but I’m partial to “antstronauts”. I think it flows better.

Image from the article.

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The most important story of the year has already occurred! It has nothing to do with the NSA, or the midterm elections, or anything else so mundane. It has everything to do with ants. Specifically, space ants.

Outer space, already home to the Ant Nebula, will now be joined by real live ants, thanks to the recent launch of a rocket to the ISS carrying “swarms of ants”. According to the ABC article reporting the event, NASA hopes that the experiment will “help cultivate ‘a better understanding of swarm intelligence,’ which could lead to more refined mathematical procedures for solving complex problems, such as routing trucks and scheduling airlines, back on Earth.”

These are not the first space ants, but I believe they are the first to actually live on the ISS. The earlier launch used harvester ants, but this launch decided on Tetramorium caespitum, the pavement ant, according to the NASA release describing the experiment. I hope the ants love their stellar new home!

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Meet Menzel 3, the Ant Nebula:

The Ant Nebula (Menzel 3): Fiery Lobes Protrude From Dying, Sun-like Star

(Image from HubbleSite)

I’ll be honest, I think this nebula doesn’t look that much like an ant. But, according to Wikipedia, it’s supposed to look like the “head and thorax of a garden-variety ant”. Maybe something like this:

Putting the Ant in Ant Nebula

Or this:

Putting the Ant in Ant Nebula

Either way, who now can disagree with the obvious fact that ants are of cosmic importance?

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