Friday, April 28, 2006

Dogs in space (and cats)

I had no idea so many brave animals have been up in space!?! From frogs, to spiders, to cats, to monkeys:
Scientists in the Soviet Union were sure that organisms from Earth could live in space. To demonstrate that, they sent the world's second artificial space satellite — Sputnik 2 — to space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on November 3, 1957. On board was a live mongrel dog named Laika (Barker in Russian) on a life-support system.

While other animals had made suborbital flights, Laika was the first animal to go into orbit. She suffered no ill effects while she was alive in an orbit at an altitude near 2,000 miles.

The American press nicknamed the dog Muttnik. She captured the hearts of people around the world as the batteries that operated her life-support system ran down and the capsule air ran out. Life slipped away from Laika a few days into her journey. Later, Sputnik 2 fell into the atmosphere and burned on April 14, 1958.
Poor Muttnik, or Laika, or whatever his name was... He died for a good cause.