Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars in Space by Mary Ellen Ryall

Monarch caterpillars in outer space

Monarch caterpillar
Monarch caterpillar climbing a milkweed plant.

Please watch the youtube video Monarch caterpillars in outer space.  Why are we doing this?  Does the butterfly not have enough challenges on Earth without sending it into space?

This reminds me of the poor monkeys who were sent into space by the Russians when I was a young woman.

According to Wikipedia, “The Soviet/Russian space program in the Bion program satellites used only rhesus species.  The first Soviet monkeys, Abrek and Bion, flew on Bion 6. They were aloft from December 14, 1983 – December 20, 1983.”

Now it is monarch caterpillars.  Just look at the poor things.  I don’t believe they even know what is happening to them.  The experiment appears to promote monarch biology in the classroom and also studies the life cycle of the butterfly in outer space and affect of loss of gravity and weightlessness at the same time. 

Butterflies are free.  We build habitat for the monarch butterfly and sell milkweed seed (their host plant) so they might live.  Happy Tonics is building a floral corridor across the USA so the butterfly will have abundant host and nectar sources along its migration route.  We have a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.  If you go outside surely you will see that they live in a natural world.  They fly but not in outer space.

Photo copyright by Mary Ellen Ryall. 


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