TECH
31/03/2015 12:34 BST | Updated 31/03/2015 12:59 BST

How Do Ants Cope With Being In Space?

So how do ants cope with being in space? Well the answer is surprisingly well.

Back in January 2014 researchers sent a small colony of ants up to the International Space Station where they wanted to study how the six-legged insects would cope in a zero-gravity environment.

ants in space

Publishing their results today in the Frontiers journal, the researchers found that while ants took longer to explore an area, the difference was that they were thinking of the space in three dimensions.

In fact, the ants adapted incredibly quickly the concept of zero-gravity, using each other as anchors for climbing and exploring.

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Speaking to the BBC, lead author Professor Deborah Gordon said: "Sometimes they would grab onto another ant and climb back down... And sometimes, they somehow managed to just flatten themselves back onto the surface. I think the biomechanics of that are interesting,"

Along with their ability to adapt, the researchers are hoping that lessons learned through this experiment will help shape the next generation of robotics software, allowing robots to work better as a team.