Astronomers are studying the behavior and colonization of ants in microgravity and comparing this behavior with that in normal condition of gravity. The behavior may include the interaction rate of a group of ants and the number of ants in a specific area.
This study has been done in International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Expedition 38 flight engineer, is working on them using a video camera.
Cameras record the movement and behavior of ants and software checks the movement patterns and interaction rates. There are eight ant habitats having three areas: nest area, Forage Area 1 and Forage Area 2. A sealed “door” separates each area from the other.
Principal Investigator in the study is Deborah Gordon, Ph.D., Department of Biology, CA, United States.
NASA has also involved students in grades K-12, who are observing the videos and conducting their experiments.
Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus Science Insert – 06: Ants in Space (CSI-06) – 01.09.14 – NASA (http://goo.gl/P7HfVf)