LJWorld.com weblogs Linda's Backroad Musings
What would a Monarch Butterfly look like floating in outer space?
Monarch butterflies like to travel. Thanks to Monarch Watch, Chip, Jim, Ann, Jackie, the Critter Crew (student hourly employees), and volunteers from the community the beautiful creatures will soon be taking it to a new level. Space.
Recently, Chip, a friend and neighbor, knocked on our door with the Sunday paper but no time for a chat. He said he was putting in long hours preparing for sending Monarch butterflies into space and the unbelievable response of 425 schools to participate in a science project along with the space shuttle crew. He left that morning with my name on the volunteer list.
Here are my feelings about working with the Monarch program the past two days.
First, the dedication of Chip and his staff to young people. Rather than turn away schools too late for the initial call for 20, they are sending the experiment to all 425. Yes, that many schools were interested enough to pay for the kit plus overnight delivery. Monarch Watch and Kansas University could touch the lives of nearly 8,000 children directly not to mention their families and others who will follow the butterfly story in the media.
The Space project would not be possible without the artificial diet developed by the Monarch Watch lab. These diet containers are being prepared for shipment to the shuttle launch site.
The timing of the Monarch stages of development for study in the nearly weightless environment sounds hard enough but then factor in possible delays in launch time. From what I overheard, it all came together with a lot of lost sleep.
Finally, the most impressive part for me is that all 425 classrooms are receiving exactly the same size caterpillars and diet food as is going into space. Then, by way of the Monarchs in Space site, there will be interaction with other schools and the experts. What if there might be interaction with the astronauts?
What an exciting science program especially for a whole bunch of children. That can only be a good thing.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Nov/13/DSC00001-1.JPG Box contains Monarch caterpillars headed for the shuttle launch.