What Animals Have Been To Space?

In the latest episode of Universe Today’s Guide To Space, Fraser Cain talks about the non-human animals that we’ve catapulted to Earth’s orbit and beyond.

When we think of spaceflight, we think astronauts. You’re a human, you perceive the Universe with your human-centric attitudes. You… specist.

The reality is that the vast number of living things sent to space were our animal buddies. This is a tough topic to hit, as it’s kinda sad. More sensitive animal loving viewers might want might to skip this one, or at least grab some tissue. Just don’t shoot the messenger.

We’ve thrown so many different kinds of animals into space, a better question might be: what animals haven’t been in space? It’s a Noah’s Ark salad of living things.

Mice, monkeys, fish, reptiles, frogs, insects, dogs, and of course, those hardy hardy tardigrades, who laugh at the rigors of spaceflight, and eat vacuum for breakfast. We’ve brought them all home safe and sound. Well, some of them. A good number of them. All the tardigrades are fine. I think.

In all seriousness, a lot of the animals we’ve sent to space never made it back, alive or otherwise—Laika, which Cain mentions in the video, being the classic example.


Contact the author at rtgonzalez@io9.com.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


Atomic Samurai Robot

Stop teasing me. I thought you were sending me home.