Whenever you think of animals in space, monkeys (especially chimpanzees) create a popular image of pioneering creatures. Interestingly, there are a lot of different critters that have seen the moon and stars up close. In this article, you will learn about some of the animals that countries, such as the United States, USSR and Japan, have launched into the air.
Monkeys in Space
In May 1959, a female rhesus monkey named Able and a female squirrel monkey named Baker were launched into space by the United States. They did not orbit, but returned safely to Earth. Other monkeys were sent into space, such as a male chimpanzee named Enos, who ventured into space in November 1961. He completed two orbits and survived the missions. The United States sent Ham the Chimp into space in 1961 after training the monkey to pull levers associated with the mission. The monkey received banana-flavored treats, which proved that the creature could be trained to operate machinery during a space flight. A few months afterwards, the United States sent their first human up into space. The first space monkeys for the USSR were Abrek and Bion, who orbited in December of 1983.
Newts in Space
The Bion flights that took off during the 1980s expanded the number of creatures aboard. This decade saw the first newts shipped off into space. In 1985, Bion 7 carried 10 newts. The creatures had part of their front limbs amputated so that the rate of regeneration in space could be studied. Scientists wished to use the information to supplement their theories about human recovery from space injuries.
Frogs in Space
The first frogs launched into space were two bullfrogs that were aboard the Orbiting Frog Otolith satellite (also known as OFO-A) in November of 1970. They were in orbit for one week. In an attempt to conduct experiments on weightlessness, a journalist from Japan named Toyohiro Akiyama too six green tree frogs to the Soviet Mir space station in December of 1990.
Tortoises in Space
In November of 1975, the USSR sent a tortoise into space. The creature actually set a record for the longest time being off the planet into space with 90 days.
Spider in Space
Can a spider weave a web in space? This is the question that the United States wanted an answer to when they sent a garden spider named Arabella into space. In July of 1973, the spider was in orbit aboard Skylab-3 for nearly 60 days to test the effect of weightlessness on her ability to weave a web.
Assortment of Critters
The STS-90 mission of space shuttle Columbia transported a collection of creatures that included 170 baby rats, 18 mice, 229 swordtail fish, 135 snails, four oyster toad fish, and 1,514 cricket eggs and larvae.