One Butterfly Coming Up: For the first time, a butterfly has formed a chrysalis on the International Space Station. The single chrysalis can be seen attached to the habitat in the lower left of the image (National Space Biomedical Research Institute/BioServe Space Technologies).
Great news from our orbiting insect adventurers! One of the caterpillars carried to the International Space Station (ISS) by Space Shuttle Atlantis last week has done something a caterpillar has never done before; it's turned into a chrysalis in space.
Normally on Earth, caterpillars go through the chrysalis phase just before they become a butterfly. Up until now, microgravity tests on butterflies have been unsuccessful; the larvae (caterpillars) never entered the chrysalis stage of their life cycle.
"The problem was that the food they flew was from a new vendor, and it turned out it was poor quality, and that's why the butterflies didn't develop," Uri told Discovery News on Nov. 17. "They're hoping that with brand new food that's been totally tested that this group will do OK."