The Soviet Pilot and Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarian was the first person who went into the space on April 12,1961. But before his journey, many animals were sent to space to know whether the live forms are possible outside of the earth. The another reason is scientists want to investigate the biological processes, the microgravity and the space flight on these animals.
In that, some of the animals were meant to be recovered, but others were never intended to see on the earth again. As of now, only 5 countries are mainly contributed to send animals in space programs: China, France, Japan, Soviet Union and United States.
Top 6 Animals Launched Into Space
At January 29, 1951 the Soviet Union sent two dogs named as Tsygan and Dezik in R-1 IIIA-1 flight into the space but not into the satellite orbit. The dogs were survived the flight but one was died into the subsequent flight.
At November 3,1957 the dog named as Laika was the first animal sent to the orbit by the Soviet Union in Sputink-2; but sadly the dog was died during the flight. After the journey of Laika, more than 10 dogs were sent into the orbit.
At August 19, 1960 the two dogs named as Belka and Strelka were sent to orbit in Sputnik 5 spacecraft. This time the dogs were returned alive to the earth.
In February 22,1996 the two Russian dogs named as Veterok and Ugolyok were sent to space in Cosmos 110 and spent 22 days in space. The duration of this space flight was record-breaking ones by human until the year 1974.
Also Read: Top 6 Latest Space Discoveries.
To sent into the space the scientists and astronauts mostly choose the Canines species, because giving training to that particular kind of dog is really easy when compare to others. Scientists especially preferred the female dogs, as it was easy to design a space suit to collect waste from them.
As of now, several species of monkeys have been sent to space; it includes rhesus monkey, squirrel monkey and macaques. Because they are well-known for their contributions to medical research, the rhesus monkeys are highly intelligent than other.
On June 11, 1948 a monkey named Albert was the first to sent to space by Americans. Generally the monkeys were implanted with sensors to measure the important signs and anesthesia will given to them before the launch.
In 1959, the rhesus and squirrel monkey namely Able and Baker were sent to the space, and they were the first monkeys which was survived.
Sadly, after 4 days of flight the Able monkey was died due to reaction of anaesthesia while undergoing a surgery but the Baker monkey was alive till 1984.
Chimpanzee is the closest living animals to the human beings. It’s contribution to the space activity was valuable. The first chimpanzee was sent in the year 1961, which is named as Ham. He was trained in brutal fashion at Holloman Air Force Base through a system of positive and negative reinforcement.
If this great Ham did what the trainers wanted a banana pellet will given to him. But it refuses to obey the command, he received a mild electric shock. Several malfunctions were occurred during the flight, but the Ham performed well and his space suit protected him a lot. He died at the age of 26.
Succeeded with Ham, again another chimpanzee namely Enos was sent to the space. It is well and better trained than Ham. It was sent to the orbit 2 times and returned to the earth alive. Unfortunately it was died due to dysentery about 11 months later.
4. Water Bears:
The Water bears are one of the toughest creatures on the earth and can survive on any atmosphere that would destroy almost any other living creatures. Now scientists found that they can even survive in space.
It is also known as tardigrades or water bears and are strange-looking with their eight chubby legs, probing heads and little claws. They will not die even if they are boiled, frozen or squeezed under the pressure or desiccated. In fact they can be completely dried out for the years and then come back to life as if nothing had happened.
In the year 2007, about 3,000 of them were dried out and fired into space to see if they could handle the cosmic rays, freezing cold and a near vacuum. Surprisingly, after ten days some of them were die. They are the first animals to survive the exposure in space without any protection.
The Rodents have a long history in space: Mice, rates, hamsters have all been sent their over years. Several experiments have been undertaken with rodents in space. In the year 2009, half a dozen mice including the genetically enhanced mouse were sent to space to find why astronauts bones break down in the gravity-free world of space.
The genetically altered mouse was enhanced with a gene to produce a protein called osteoprotegerin. The scientists believe the protein might be useful in halting bone loss associated with the process of aging, and since the space accelerates the aging process, it was the right environment to conduct the study.
Several experiments were studied in space by using the rodents. The other best example was the study conducted by the Psychology professor Jeffrey Alberts who is working in Indiana University. He subjected the pregnant rats to zero-activity conditions and studied the behavior of its offspring.
The Amphibians like frogs, newts and toads were used for a long time by the scientists to analyze the health of the space environment. One of the special character of amphibian is it can able to live both in water and land. It immediately adapt it selves for the environment. Scientists were interested in how the environment of space might affect the newt’s ability to regenerate.
Also Read:Top 6 Clever Animal Camouflage Pictures.
Do you feel sorry for these animals which are launched into space or do you think they are necessary sacrifices for human evolution? Share your thoughts.