Not gonna lie, spiders are both really curious to me and creepy as hell. Just my opinion and I’m not making a judgement on anyone who likes these little guys. They aren’t my jam, that’s all. However, they’re very interesting once I get past the makes-my-scalp-crawl part. So, here’s a content warning for anyone who doesn’t like spiders: the links have spiders. You’re warned.
When the news piece that spawned this little post came across my feed, I scrolled down quick because spider! But then my brain kicked in and I remembered seeing space in the headline. What I found was cool as hell and it added a new word to my lexicon: arachnauts!
Basically the gist of these articles here, here and here is that NASA thought it would be awesome to see how spiders build their webs without gravity to orient them. And an earlier experiment to determine if jumping spiders could hunt in zero gravity. It got weird, but interesting results. I love it when that happens. And with all the weird things we’ve done to spiders in the name of science, this didn’t disappoint.
It was the word though. Arachnauts. Had me thinking about giant, space-faring spiders out there in the Universe. Having been bound by their own gravity, how would they adapt to web-building out in the black? Mating? Hunting?
Oh, better yet, what would their spaceships look like? Their homeworld would be something else too. History, culture, fashion. What drove them to space? It might have been need or desire or some combination of both. I can just imagine the kerfuffle it would cause on Earth if they landed here, trying to make contact. Huge tracts of cities taken over for their integration into human society. New culture created as the two species started to share parts of themselves.
See where I’m going with this? The shenanigans would be endless! I hope someone gets tangled in this idea and makes something of it.
Science in the pursuit of Fiction.