Butterfly Habitat, STS-93

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This object is on display in the Space Science at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Space Science

This is a duplicate of the habitat flown for a butterfly metamorphosis experiment aboard space shuttle Columbia on the STS-93 mission in July 1999. This box was used in the ground control experiment conducted concurrently with the flight.

The habitat housed Painted Lady (Cynthia cardui) butterflies in different stages of development, as well as a food supply in the tray of circles. The habitat was enclosed in a larger environmental container that controlled light, temperature, and a video camera to record progress of the experiment. A team of high school students and their instructors developed the experiment to investigate the effect of weightlessness on the butterfly life cycle. The project was sponsored by SPACEHAB, Inc. BioServe Space Technologies manufactured the habitat and donated it to the Museum.