AUSTIN (KXAN) – Have you ever noticed that a spider’s web tends to be lopsided? Often times, the center is slightly displaced towards the upper edge. And while resting, spiders tend to point their heads down – towards gravity – to get to their prey faster.
Well NASA scientists noticed both characteristics and wanted to know – what would a spider do without gravity? Would the middle of the web be more centered? Would a spider still face down in a zero-gravity environment?
After a couple mishaps on board the International Space Station, astronauts put a few spiders to the test.
They found that in the absence of gravity, the spider’s webs tended to be more symmetrical… and their body position more variable.
The scientists took it a step further observing that without gravity, spiders used light as a way to orient themselves. When comparing darkness to lamplight, they found that the webs built under light were like those build on Earth under the influence of gravity.