LMAC #36: Animal Astronauts

Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shephard, Christa Mcauliffe--these names are familiar to most of us. Each of them volunteered to be astronauts. But before they ever stepped inside a space capsule, others went before. These were not volunteers. They were animals of many species. Some of the animal astronauts survived these experiments. Many did not.

I don't want to upset my readers, so I will dwell here only on those animals that did well on their space adventures. However, at the end of this post, I will give homage to those little critters whose unwilling sacrifice paved the way for human space flight.

Dogs, monkeys, tortoises, mice, flies: just a few of the species used as live specimens to test the viability--survivability--of space flight.
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Success Stories

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Veterok and Ugoljok: Soviet Canine Astronauts
Veterok and Ugoljok Rymdhundarna Veterok och Ugoljok 2.0.jpg
Image credit: Source, Rymdhundarna Veterok och Ugoljok. Author: Tekniska museet. Used under CC 2.0 license

While the U.S. space program tended to use monkeys in test flights, starting all the way back in 1948, the Soviets preferred dogs. Most of the U. S. monkey astronauts did not do well. However, on the whole, Soviet dogs did better. The two dogs pictured above are among those who were sent into space and made it back. Veterok and Ugoljok spent 22 days in orbit. These two hold the record for having made the longest canine space flight, ever, on Kosmos 110.
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Ham the Chimp
Ham the Chimp and handler NASA public.jpg
Image credit: NASA. Public domain

Ham made his flight in 1961. He was the first chimpanzee in space. He definitely did not volunteer for the mission. He had been captured in Cameroon and trained so he could perform tasks on his space mission. His mission was called Mercury-Redstone 2. Ham lived for 22 years after his historic flight. It was reported that he had a broad grin when he was rescued, after nearly drowning on touchdown. However, it's not likely Ham enjoyed the flight. Afterwards, he resisted being put back into his halter so vigorously (they wanted to take a publicity photo) that several grown men could not force him into that confinement.

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Black Mouse (Unnamed)
Black mouse drinking Wualex public.jpg

Image credit: Wualex. Public domain

In 1960, the U.S. sent three black mice (not the mouse in the picture) into space on an Atlas D 71D launch vehicle. The mice were named Sally, Amy and Moe. These involuntary recruits were supposed to test survivability of re-entry. They were launched 650 miles into space, and then sent on an 18,000 mile re-entry plunge. A thousand miles from their point of departure, Cape Canaveral, they were retrieved and reported to be in good condition.
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Sad Stories

I have so far spared readers the many episodes in which animal astronauts did not fare well. There are so many of these stories. Animals sent deliberately on a one-way mission. Animals in parachutes that didn't open. Animals expired in failed reentry attempts. But I will not go there, not today.
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My Collage

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As soon as I saw @shaka's stunning photo this week:

shaka 36 blog.jpg

I thought of Cape Canaveral.

I found a picture on Pixabay of a rocket launch:

rocket launch.jpg

After that, I just kept making frames as I tried to get the launch in sync. The dolphin and sun were afterthoughts, borrowed from Paint 3D. The picture looked anemic with just a rocket launch. Gimp allowed me to add effects, such as Impression and Softglow.

This was of course a fun challenge, and I loved every minute of it. Thank you @shaka for the continuing creative journey on #LMAC. I recommend that readers check out @shaka's blog. There are so many wonderful designs. There is such variety. Anyone can join in the fun.

Thank you for reading my blog.
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Thank you STEMsocial. That really makes me feel great! T

🐕🐕🐁🐒🚀

😭

Yes, 😥

Thanks for choosing to mention the success stories, I would be to sad to read the other ones :)
Excellent job on the blog and on the gif as well :)) (May I ask what you used for the gif?)

Hi @katerinaramm,
Yes, so sad even these many years later.

The GIF was so hard! I don't have photo editing skills so I improvise. Mostly I use GIMP. There is an extraction option which is very imprecise (fuzzy select). That's how I got the rocket--in several steps. Then I made the fiery smoke with a paint brush...over and over again :)) Finally I added the dolphin and sun by going to Paint 3D. the picture was still a little bare looking so I added GIMP Impression to give the kind of fuzzy background that suggests movement (I hope). Thanks for asking. I think I have to learn how to use more photo editing applications. This is so laborious. However, I probably developed a million new neural connections in solving the problems :)))
I hope you, Kikaki and your loved ones are well as we move out from under Corona cloud.

Hello, leaving my mark of greeting here, really relating the image to the story is really very creative, the story of the chimpanzee did not know it, he would say, I went once, I will not go a second time. This would be his scare.

Hello, friend Tormenta. You express the sentiment of the chimp so well. He must have been so terrified! Thank you for your support, and kind words. Have a wonderful day, and good luck (really!) in the contest.

Hello tremendous effect

Thank you very much!

Dear AG,
It's always fascinating to see what associations a photo awakens in you. The result of your creative work is once again a great collage!

Thank you for at the same time drawing attention to the cruel fate of these space pioneers. A very sad chapter in space exploration. 😥

Warm regards,
Anna

Edit: Unfortunately dpoll does not work for me at the moment. I will try again later.

Dear @vieanna,🌼
Thank you for visiting my blog! I'm so glad you like the collage/post. It is amazing, the way our minds make connections. I think that's the idea of 'flow'. If we stop consciously working and let our minds free, strange things happen. I think I spend a lot of time in 'flow' :)))
The animals: once we become aware of their distress, it's hard to turn away. Startling to think there was a time when these experiments were conducted without challenge by the public. I guess in some ways, most of us have evolved for the better.
You make me happy with your comment--I appreciate your attempt to vote. As you might guess, the outcome of the ballot is not as important to me as it might be to some in the contest. (Although I do love getting the votes 😊) The most gratifying is feedback from my readers. To that I am quite sensitive.
Wishing you joy, peace and health.
Your New York friend who approaches the coming season 🌟 with optimism,
Affectionately,
AG

Dear AG,
I also feel that we are connected to each other in a mental way and that feels good. 🌝

I like the idea of flow. When I'm completely absorbed in something, oblivious of time and space, I sometimes experience this delightful state.

The aim of research, to generate new knowledge is a desirable one. However, if research is carried out on the basis of animal experiments, this is done at the expense of sentient beings. To justify new knowledge with the suffering of animals is ethically problematic

As far as LMAC goes, I know you don't participate in this contest mainly to win. But I'd have liked to give you my vote as a sign of appreciation for your work.

I like to be inspired by your optimism. 🌟 All the best, stay fit and healthy.

Affectionately, 🌷
Anna

I'd have liked to give you my vote as a sign of appreciation for your work.🌟

🌹 🍁 🌞🍁🌹

It is really cool to use the collage competition to browse this page of space history.

Indeed, animals were really important to test and ensure the safety of the space vehicles. Unfortunately, they were never asked for their opinion. Today at least, we are a bit better than 60 years ago... Just a bit...

Hi @lemouth,
Thank you! I think it's cool, when art and science are related so closely. In my mind, they are. The best scientists are creative. They need vision in order to forge new paths, to make discoveries. And anyway, this is fun for me :)

The issue of animals is hard. It's not merely the problem of using the animals, it's the way they were used--without regard to suffering or the debt that humans owe to them. Instead of being retired to peaceful old age (those who survived) they were farmed out, as research subjects in unrelated areas.

The issue of using animals is science may be long debated, but using them humanely I don't think is up for debate. I know (from comments you've made before) that you believe in humane treatment of animals, even in the context of research, when possible.

Thank you for your support and interest. LMAC and STEMsocial are nice places to hang out, especially in trying times.

Have a wonderful, safe day!

Thank you! I think it's cool, when art and science are related so closely. In my mind, they are. The best scientists are creative. They need vision in order to forge new paths, to make discoveries. And anyway, this is fun for me :)

Do you know that there was a space at CERN wher the artist of the month could present his art. I don't know whether this is still existing (I have been to CERN for some time now), but I (and not only me) agree that art and science can work together :)

The issue of using animals is science may be long debated, but using them humanely I don't think is up for debate. I know (from comments you've made before) that you believe in humane treatment of animals, even in the context of research, when possible.

I agree. As long as we are nice and careful, I am all good with this!

🌠🎨🌞

Thank you @agmoore. Once again an interesting read and a great entry to the LMAC!

Also, thanks again for topping up our community bonus!

Thank you so much, @lmac! You know I love LMAC. I think it is great fun, but even more than that,it is becoming a vibrant community with many participants. Good for Hive, and good for the participants. Thanks for the vision, and for the work in creating this opportunity for people.