October 24, 2007 in Nation/World

Cockroach babies are first in space

Mcclatchy The Spokesman-Review
 

VORONEZH, Russia – A Russian cockroach called Nadezhda (Hope) has given birth to the first creatures ever conceived in space, scientists in Voronezh, central Russia, said on Tuesday.

Nadezhda conceived during the Foton-M bio-satellite September 14-26 flight.

“We recently received the first batch of 33 cockroaches conceived in microgravity,” Dmitry Atyakshin said.

Though the newborn creatures already eat and drink respectively well, microgravity conditions may have had an impact on the natural darkening of their chitinous carapace, a part of a cockroach’s exoskeleton.

“Cockroaches are born with a transparent carapace, which gradually turns into brown, and the space cockroaches went darker earlier than usual,” the scientist explained.

The September 14-26 flight was part of an ongoing experiment into the effects of space flight by the Institute of Biomedical Problems. The creatures were sealed in special containers, and a video camera filmed them during the flight.


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