You know the scene at the end of Charlotte’s Web in which the Charlotte dies? That’s one of the saddest moments in children’s literature.
Well Tuesday, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History had a kind of re-run of that.
They announced that Nefertiti, a celebrity spider, has died.
Nefertiti was a spidernaut and she traveled into outer space. Last July NASA sent her up to the International Space Station.
Nefertiti had been part of YouTube Space Lab, an online video contest. An 18-year-old Egyptian student came up with the idea to send the spider into space.
Nefertiti lived at the space station for 100 days, proving that her species was able to adapt to the effects of weightlessness and still be able to capture a prey.
Nefertiti landed back on Earth in October, and went to her new home at the Smithsonian at the end of November. She went on display in the “Insect Zoo.”
This morning though, before the museum doors opened, a member of the staff discovered that Neffi, as she became known, had died of natural causes. She was 10-months-old, only two months shy of the average life-span of spiders like her.
On its Facebook page, The Smithsonian said Neffi was “a special animal that inspired so many imaginations.” Neffi will now rest in peace in the Smithsonian’s specimen collection.
Neffi was not the first spidernaut, by the way. “Arabella” and “Anita” — who both spun webs in space — died while living at the first American space station, Skylab, back in 1973.