Archive for flora & fauna

Research flight 6

Oy! Tuesday morning (Monday for you western hemisphere-types) we flew the first night mission, with takeoff at 2:00 AM. The night flights are essential because most of the processes we’re studying are driven by photochemistry, so the transition from night-to-day is important to record. It just means that we don’t get much sleep! My pre-flight sleep was also disturbed a bit by the presence of Alan (named after our esteemed mission scientist), a humongous spider that appeared in my room after dinner, and who was just too scary to try to kill. I decided that if I didn’t bother him, he wouldn’t bother me, although it was a bit difficult lying in bed in the dark wondering what Alan was up to at that very moment.  I posted a picture below. I actually thought about putting something in the frame for scale, but just could not bear to put my hand near the pincers. I would estimate Alan is about 5 inches in diameter.

Alan the spider. Click at your own risk. Especially you, Nicole.

Edited to add:  I have found Alan the spider online!  Apparently it is a male Huntsman or Banana Spider, which are harmless and like to roam about and eat cockroaches.  In that case, Alan the spider is welcome in my room anytime. As long as he keeps his distance.

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Does anybody know if roaches poop? Because I keep finding little turds by my sink, and I’m trying to figure out what may have left them. I’m pretty sure it’s not mice since there are enough feral cats around here to make rodents a non-issue, so I’ve narrowed the culprits down to either roaches or crabs. I haven’t seen a crab in my room yet, but there was one scratching at my door the other day. (“Let me een! I weel pinch you!”) I have, however, been visited by a few roaches, one of whose final view would have been the Harry Potter book hurtling toward him at great speed.

Roaches are everywhere! Dan left his NCAR mug in the lab overnight, and one managed to squeeze through the little sippy slit and was there when he opened it up the next day on the airplane. Apparently one also got itself into a beer can he left out in his room the other night, so he was awoken by this scrit scrit noise of distressed trapped drunken cockroach. These stories have made me vigilant!

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