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Shuttle crew shows off its "stowaway'

Columbia's astronauts exposed a "stowaway" and discussed space dieting Wednesday as the shuttle zipped around the world for the eighth day. The biomedical research mission is scheduled to end Friday.

"You oughtn't tell NASA, but we heard a lot of noise back in this end of the Spacelab when we first got on orbit," astronaut-physician M. Rhea Seddon confided during a recorded tour of the cargo bay laboratory.

"Lo and behold, we had a stowaway," Seddon said as she unzipped a garment bag and introduced Resuscitation Annie, a blond mannequin. "Annie is serving as a patient on this flight to help us better evaluate and operate an examining table that might someday be used on space station."

Pilot Sidney Gutierrez focused on food during his presentation of the middeck, the shuttle's main eating and sleeping area. The tour was videotaped Tuesday, a light workday, and beamed to Mission Control on Wednesday.

Gutierrez demonstrated how the seven astronauts record everything they eat and drink.

Scientists expect the research to improve their understanding of people's adaptation to space.