Leal School Monarchs-In-Space-Project

Wow, butterflies in Space!

December 3, 2009
Things were a little slow in space the last few week or so.  Watching a chrysalis is a lot like watching paint dry :) 

But today, one of the most amazing biological phenomena happened on the International Space Station.  Beautiful butterflies eclosed from the chrysalis.  The only word I can think of to describe this is: AWESOME!

The website shows you a progression of pictures that shows how the butterflies emerged. 

And here is actual video of one of the butterflies floating/flying (?) in space.

Today Becky and I visited most of your classes - you are all doing a great job taking care of the Monarchs.  Interesting observation:  Class rooms on the north-side of the building (Huff and Maloney) have caterpillars that only now are pupating.  Why do you think this may be?  Overall, our caterpillars are not developing as fast as the ones in space.  Why?

Greetings, M.


The space shuttle lands safely (Friday, Nov 26)

November 27, 2009
My family and I took a break from the usual Thanksgiving-weekend activities (which mostly involve sleep, food, relaxation and some more food) to watch the Space Shuttle's return to earth.  It is still amazing to me that this "plane" that went into space is able to land back on earth. 

The crew is happy to be back.  Especially Nicole Stott, who had been at the ISS for a few months.  This is what the pilot had to say: "After being asked if there were any memories that stood out, Pilot Barry E. ...
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Amazing, the caterpillars in space pupated (Thursday, Nov 26)

November 26, 2009

Yesterday the caterpillars in space pupated.  You can see the pictures here.  The most recent pictures are first and then if you scroll back you can see in reverse how quickly they did it (a picture is taken every half an hour)

On earth, monarch caterpillars find a place to hang from.  They attach to a branch or leaf while upside down and then start making their chrysalis (their body is in a j-shape). 

It looks like the space caterpillars did a similar thing.  They did not care about not being...
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Growing, growing, growing.... (Tuesday November 24th)

November 24, 2009
Caterpillars on earth and in space are growing very big.  To see the latest pictures check out the picture gallery.

And on NPR (earth and sky) there was a nice interview with one of the scientists running our sister-program that sent Painted Lady Butterflies to space.  The Painted Lady and Monarch habitats are right next to each other on the space station (see picture)

To listen to the interview click on this link:
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Sunday in Space: Relax and Celebrate (Sun Nov 22)

November 22, 2009
I was getting a little worried.  We had not seen any pictures of the caterpillars in space for a few days.  I was wondering if they were behind those false alarms on the space-shuttle - maybe they were trying to trick NASA and pulled/pushed the alarm...probably not.

But today some new pictures of the caterpillars were posted, and the guys look HUGE. 

Here is a picture of the one caterpillar I still have at my house (the ones in your classrooms may be bigger)

and one of the caterpillars in spac...
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Do you have a strict bedtime? As strict as the astronauts? (Nov 20)

November 21, 2009
This interesting bit was posted as "the latest news" on the NASA website:

STS-129 Mission Specialists Mike Foreman and Randy Bresnik, set to perform the second spacewalk of the mission Saturday, are spending the night in the Quest airlock as part of the overnight “campout” procedure that helps purge nitrogen from their bloodstreams, preventing decompression sickness once they move out into the vacuum of space.
The International Space Station crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 6:58 p.m. EST...

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First Video of Caterpillars (Thursday Nov 19)

November 20, 2009
If you want to see what caterpillars do all day when in space check out this video:


If you were living in the International Space Station what would you do to amuse yourself? 


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All three caterpillars alive and well on the space station (Wed Nov 18)

November 19, 2009
Yep, all three caterpillars are thriving.  You can see pictures of them here.


They look very healthy despite having been in the dark for about 2 days (from launch of Atlantis until the shuttle docked with the ISS)

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Nice Job!

November 19, 2009
Students from Mr. Huff's class did a very nice job explaining the experiment to a reporter from the WAND news.  The video can be seen on their page once I figure out how to download it.


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Leal's Monarch Project on TV (Tuesday November 17)

November 18, 2009
Our project made it onto the WCIA news.  Click here to get to the video: http://illinoishomepage.net/content/video/?cid=118161

Also, stay tuned tomorrow.  That is when the shuttle will arrive at the ISS and deliver the caterpillars. 

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