Animals out in the space

Scientific research was also greatly improved by the use of animals in astronautics. The very first living beings having been launched into space were mice and midges (fruit flies). These insects were chosen for they reproduce very quickly, and this allowed scientists to see very quickly if the cosmic rays could affect the hereditary characters. Laika, a Russian dog, was the first animal to have been sent into space, in particular into orbit around the Earth, in 1957. The environmental conditions of the Earth had been recreated in the space shuttle in which the dog lived; Laika had learnt how to feed herself from an automatic food dispenser. This proved that a living being could live in space for a long time.

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From the Multimedia section

  • space

    The dog “Laika”

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    A zoo in a drop

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    Nudibranchs (sea slugs)

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