Leal School Monarchs-In-Space-Project

Caterpilars are orbiting the earth (Monday November 16)

November 16, 2009
This is from the NASA website (with one or two of my own additions):

Space shuttle Atlantis, its crew of six astronauts and a few insects are headed for space, ready to begin their 11-day mission to the International Space Station. The climb to orbit took about 8 1/2 minutes.
Following a smooth countdown, with no technical issues and weather that steadily improved throughout the afternoon, the shuttle lifted off on time from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:28 p.m. EST.



I had not watched  a launch live in a while.  Glad I had an excuse to do so as the Leal butterflies-in-space specialist because it is an impressive sight.

M
 

Ready for lift off? (Sunday November 15th)

November 16, 2009
As I am writing this there are only 16 h, 25 min and 30 sec, no 29, no 28....to go until Atlantis' lift-off.  I think the caterpillars are already on board since fueling will start soon.  The caterpillars are somewhere at the tip of the shuttle.  They probably do not have much of a view since there are no windows there.  Actually, they are going to be pretty much in the dark for 2-3 days until they get to the International Space Station - their new home. 



Image above: As the sun sets behind L...
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We welcomed our monarch friends (Friday November 13)

November 14, 2009
Today was the day when I came to your classes to introduce the project to all of you.  I had a great time.  You all seemed very interested and eager to get started, and you had some great questions. 

Today was also the day that the monarch caterpillars arrived.  I've posted some pictures of their arrival below.



The caterpillars are still really smalll.  They are only in the third instar.  Soon they will molt into the fourth instar and become an eating machine.



The shipment also came with diet w...
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Getting ready for our new friends to arrive (Thursday November 12)

November 13, 2009
I was getting worried, but late this afternoon I received word from UPS that the monarch caterpillars that will live in the Leal classrooms will arrive tomorrow.  The team in Kansas that started this project have been so overwhelmed by all the requests from classrooms all around the country that I was worried that they may have lost our request.  But if UPS says that they are on the way, then...

Today I have been busy with preparing the rearing cages for the caterpillars.  I sure hope I follow...
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Still Waiting...

November 11, 2009
It is now Wednesday November 11th, 5 days until the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis.  I hope we will receive the monarch larvae tomorrow or Friday so I can get them settled in their rearing cages and in your class-rooms.  I am pretty excited about this project, but also a little nervous.  But as a scientist I am used to this feeling.

I have to make sure that the Monarch larvae will be able to thrive. I have to make sure that you, the students, will be able to learn as much as possible from th...
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