The Atlantic

Space Suits for Spiders

And what they tell us about the difficulty of keeping people alive in space
Source: Win McNamee / Getty

Recently, a user of an online forum for science-fiction writing posed an intriguing question to the rest of the community. In the user’s imaginary world, spiders rule the planet. The arachnids have grown intelligent enough to build a spacefaring empire, and they need space suits to travel into space. So, then: “How to design a space suit for an arachnid?”

The inquiry made me giggle. It reminded me of those silly thought experiments involving animals and garments, such as the long-running debate over how a dog would wear pants. I scrolled down, anticipating some funny responses.

But there was none of that. The people on this forum were serious, and they were serious

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