A team of scientists brought ants to the International Space Station, and the insects demonstrated fearless, cooperative exploration just as they do on earth.
Floating in a bag in the microgravity environment of the ISS, the ants had some trouble keeping their footing, but nonetheless persisted -- with remarkable success!-- in performing a collective search of their environment. In fact, roboticists hope to learn from this collective exploration to better design search algorithms. Ants inhabit many environments on earth, but microgravity is a new frontier.
Appropriately enough, these results were published in Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution.
See also: The Simpsons on ants in space.
Ants carried to the International Space Station were still able to use teamwork to search new areas, despite falling off the walls of their containers for up to eight seconds at a time. Their "collective search" was hampered but still took place, biologists said. The insects also showed an impressive knack for regaining their footing after taking a zero-g tumble.