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Laika the Dog & the First Animals in Space

The Soviet Union stunned the world on Nov. 3, 1957, with the launch of Sputnik 2. On board the small satellite was a little dog, Laika, the first animal to orbit Earth. However, Laika was not the first animal in space. The United States and the U.S.S.R. had been putting animals atop rockets since 1947.

In the early days of rocket science, no one knew what the effects of weightlessness would be. Animals — mainly dogs, monkeys and chimps — were used to test the safety and feasibility of launching a living being into space and bringing it back unharmed.

Since then, animals have continued to play an important role in understanding the impact of microgravity on many biological functions. Astronauts have studied all kinds of animals — wasps, beetles, tortoises, flies, worms, fish, spiders, rabbits, bees, ants, frogs, mice, crickets, rats, newts, snails, urchins, moths, brine shrimp, jellyfish, guinea pigs, butterflies, scorpions and cockroaches.

Sputnik and Muttnik

Laika was a young, mostly-Siberian husky. She was rescued from the streets of Moscow. Soviet scientists assumed that a stray dog would have already learned to endure harsh conditions of hunger and cold temperatures. Laika and two other dogs were trained for space travel by being kept in small cages and learning to eat a nutritious gel that would be their food in space.

The dog’s name was originally Kudryavka, or Little Curly, but she became known internationally as Laika, a Russian word for several breeds of dog similar to a husky. American reporters dubbed her Muttnik as a pun on Sputnik.

Unfortunately, Laika’s trip into space was one-way only. A re-entry strategy could not be worked out in time for the launch. It is unknown exactly how long Laika lived in orbit — perhaps a few hours or a few days — until the power to her life-support system gave out. Sputnik 2 burned up in the upper atmosphere in April 1958.

The first animal astronauts

Although there is no distinct boundary between the atmosphere and space, an imaginary line about 68 miles (110 kilometers) from the surface, called the Karman line, is usually where scientists say Earth’s atmosphere meets outer space.

The first animals to reach space — not counting any bacteria that may have hitched a ride on previous rockets — were fruit flies. On Feb. 20, 1947, the United States put fruit flies aboard captured German V-2 rockets to study radiation exposure at high altitudes. In 3 minutes and 10 seconds, the fruit flies reached a distance of 68 miles.

The first mammal in space was Albert II, a Rhesus monkey. Albert I’s mission had been unsuccessful, but the second Albert reached a distance of 83 miles on June 14, 1949. Albert was anesthetized during flight and implanted with sensors to measure his vital signs. Unfortunately, Albert II died upon impact at re-entry.

While the United States was experimenting with monkeys, the Soviet Union was experimenting with dogs. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union had slots for at least 57 dogs. However, because some dogs flew more than once, fewer than 57 actually participated.

The first dogs launched, Tsygan and Dezik, were aboard the R-1 IIIA-1. The dogs reached space on July 22, 1951, but did not orbit. They were the first mammals successfully recovered from spaceflight.

After Laika, the Soviet Union sent two more dogs, Belka and Strelka, into space on Aug. 19, 1960. The animals were the first to actually orbit and return alive.

Ham the chimpanzee after his successful suborbital spaceflight of Jan. 31, 1961.

Ham the chimpanzee after his successful suborbital spaceflight of Jan. 31, 1961.

Credit: NASA

Other members of the first space menagerie include:

  • Gordo, a squirrel monkey, launched 600 miles high on Dec. 13, 1958. He died on splashdown when a flotation device failed.
  • Able, a Rhesus monkey, and Baker, a squirrel monkey, were launched together on May 28, 1959. They flew 300 miles high and returned unharmed. However, Able died during an operation to remove an electrode from under her skin. Baker lived until 1984, dying of kidney failure at age 27.
  • Ham, a chimpanzee trained to perform tasks during spaceflight. Ham, named after the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, became a celebrity after his flight on Jan. 31, 1961. Ham learned to pull levers to receive banana pellets and avoid electric shocks. He successfully became the first animal to actually interact with a space vessel rather than simply ride in it.
  • On Oct. 18, 1963, French scientists launched the first cat into space. Felix was successfully retrieved after a parachute descent.
  • Two Russian dogs, Veterok and Ugolyok were launched into space on Feb. 22, 1966. They orbited for a record-breaking 22 days. Humans did not surpass the record until 1974.

Animals in other space research

Although the early animal astronauts achieved great fame, many other animals have quietly contributed to the body of scientific knowledge about life in space. As humans have grown more accustomed to space travel, fewer animals make the front-page news. Still, their contribution are important.

Some animals have been sent up as part of experiments designed by students, others by NASA and other countries. By 2004, the space shuttle program had flown over two dozen SpaceLab experimental packages. Nearly all of the experiments were designed with one main purpose in mind: to study the effects of microgravity on the biological functions of earth creatures.

Some of the biological functions that have been studied are (to name just a few): brain states, behavioral performance, cardiovascular status, fluid and electrolyte balance, metabolic state, tissue development, and mating in zero gravity.

Here are some examples of specific experiments:

Nov. 9, 1970: Two bullfrogs were launched on a one-way mission to learn more about space motion sickness.

Some water bears eat microscopic animals, while others consume algae.

Some water bears eat microscopic animals, while others consume algae.

Credit: Daiki Horikawa, NASA Ames

July 28, 1973: Two garden spiders named Arabella and Anita were used to study how orbiting earth would impact spiders’ ability to spin webs. Arabella spun a fairly symmetric web even though the thread thickness varied — something that earthbound spiders don’t experience.

July 10, 1985: Ten newts flew on board the Bion 7. Their front limbs were amputated in order to study regeneration in space to better understand how humans might recover from space injuries.

April 17, 1998: More than 2,000 creatures joined in 16 days of neurological testing alongside the seven-member human crew of the shuttle Columbia.

September 2007: Microscopic creatures commonly known as water bears (tardigrades) survived  a 10-day exposure to open space. The creatures are known to have the ability to withstand extreme conditions, including dehydration, and still recover and reproduce. The animals were dried out and re-hydrated after surviving cosmic rays, a near vacuum, and freezing temperatures.

— Elizabeth Dohrer, SPACE.com Contributor

Source: www.space.com

The Sad Story of Laika, the First Dog Launched Into Orbit

It was a Space Race victory that would have broken Sarah McLachlan’s heart. On this day, Nov. 3, in 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first-ever living animal into orbit: a dog named Laika. The flight was meant to test the safety of space travel for humans, but it was a guaranteed suicide mission for the dog, since technology hadn’t advanced as far as the return trip.

Laika was a stray, picked up from the Moscow streets just over a week before the rocket was set to launch. She was promoted to cosmonaut based partly on her size (small) and demeanor (calm), according to the Associated Press. All of the 36 dogs the Soviets sent into space — before Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth — were strays, chosen for their scrappiness. (Other dogs had gone into space before Laika, but only for sub-orbital launches.) The mission was another in a series of coups for the Soviet Union, which was then leading the way in space exploration while the United States lagged. Just a month earlier, they had launched Sputnik, the world’s first satellite. When Laika’s vessel, Sputnik 2, shot into orbit, the U.S. fell even further behind.

News media alternated between mockery and pity for the dog sent into space. According to a 1957 TIME report on how the press was covering the event, “headlines yelped such barbaric new words as pupnik and pooch-nik, sputpup and woofnik,” before ultimately settling on “Muttnik.”

“The Chicago American noted: ‘The Russian sputpup isn’t the first dog in the sky. That honor belongs to the dog star. But we’re getting too Sirius,’” the piece adds.

Other headline-writers treated Laika with more compassion. According to another story in the same issue, the Brits were especially full of feeling for the dog — and outrage toward the Russians. “THE DOG WILL DIE, WE CAN’T SAVE IT, wailed London’s mass-minded Daily Mirror,” the story declares. The Soviet embassy in London was forced to switch from celebration mode to damage control.

“The Russians love dogs,” a Soviet official protested, per TIME. “This has been done not for the sake of cruelty but for the benefit of humanity.”

Nearly a half-century later, Russian officials found themselves handling PR fallout once again after it was revealed that reports of Laika’s humane death were greatly exaggerated.

Although they had long insisted that Laika expired painlessly after about a week in orbit, an official with Moscow’s Institute for Biological Problems leaked the true story in 2002: She died within hours of takeoff from panic and overheating, according to the BBC. Sputnik 2 continued to orbit the Earth for five months, then burned up when it reentered the atmosphere in April 1958.

One of Laika’s human counterparts in the Soviet space program recalled her as a good dog. He even brought her home to play with his children before she began her space odyssey.

“Laika was quiet and charming,” Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky wrote in a book about Soviet space medicine, as quoted by the AP. “I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live.”

Source: www.time.com

 

Turtles as Pets

One of the primary things to know if you want to venture into having a turtle as a pet is that you can’t keep turtles in the little shallow glass bowls like you watched in the movies. To guarantee the best possible well being for your turtles, you should give them sufficient space to move around. One other imperative element is you can’t just place them in a bigger aquarium or a body of water and abandon them there. Turtles should have the capacity to get totally out of the water and get dry.

There are some other factors to appropriately care for your turtles too including UVB lighting, warming the water and lounging spot, water filtration, and diet. I would prefer not to sound like it is unbelievably difficult to deal with turtles and that you have to purchase the majority of this costly stuff. I simply need to ensure that you consider that it is sufficiently important to learn and actualize the best possible cultivation procedures to help your turtles flourish in good health.

About diet, stuffs like cat food, and wieners are not ideal for your turtles. Diet can likewise vary depending on the types of turtles also. It is critical to look into the sort of diet required for the sorts of turtles you choose to keep. Fortunately for you, there are many monetarily arranged turtle diets that are well prepared and formulated in the right proportion to keep your turtle healthy and grow with the best possible development rate.Vitamin D3 is a good combination with calcium and is a guide which helps the assimilation of calcium into your turtles body. Actually in their natural surroundings, turtles produce vitamin D3 through the presence of sunlight while doing their day to day activities.

Presently we should proceed onward to the best possible lighting required for your turtles. Turtles are cold blooded in nature, implying that they can’t manage their body temperature. In their natural habitat, they utilize the sun to lounge and raise their body warm. This is the reason you normally observe turtles sunbathing on a stone on a log. They likewise need to get vitamin D to stay strong and healthy in captivity. Again in the wild, they get all they require from the sun as UVB rays. So you should give your turtles a warmth light and a UVB full range light source. There are currently a group of financially accessible globules that perform both of these functions.

Everything You Need To Know About Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamute dogs should be one of the largest anywhere in the world. This tough breed is perfect for use as working dogs, particularly in colder atmospheres. Before embracing or getting one, discover all the more fascinating certainties about this great pooch breed. The unforgiving Arctic scene was its unique environment. Early Arctic adventurers rushed to utilize this current canine’s radiant quality in their campaigns. They were initially used to draw sleds conveying imperative supplies. Its thick coat makes short work of even the hardest frigid climate. In later years, they were utilized for search and safeguard missions. These dogs were additionally utilized for pulling sleds for competitions and racing. Alaskan Malamute training won’t be an issue if you have full insight. This is quite recently consummate since it additionally has the stamina to continue going more distant than other breeds. Keeping this dog breed dynamic surely has its prizes.

These enormous wolf-like pets are a portion of the friendliest pets you could own. There are a couple of Malamutes (Mals) that pull individuals, cargo or substantial items, albeit most malamute breeds are utilized for show or as pets. While this breed can pull weighty stuff, they are for the most part not appropriate for far destination races, in which case, the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Husky or Eskimo Dog would be a better choice, since they are a breed know for their agility.

Alaskan Malamutes are an exceptionally friendly breed that flourishes with human camaraderie. In a perfect world, your pet will have the capacity to parade about as it sees fit through any doggie-entryway, having the flexibility to relax outside in the shade or be spending time with humans and enjoying affection or being ordered around. Talking about “orders,” Mals can be headstrong dogs on the off chance that you don’t set aside the opportunity to prepare them when they’re young.

Try not to stress: they are savvy and brisk learners if you utilize positive prizes. Make sure to tell them who’s the “Alpha Dog” in your home at an opportune time! This breed gets exhausted effortlessly and needs a considerable measure of activity. Your Malamute might be a digger, so it’s best to set up a shaded range where your puppy can delve his paws into the cool earth if need be. In case you’re searching for a watch guard dog, then you are on the wrong path; this breed appreciates people to an extreme degree excessively!

Over feeding will bring about most Alaskan Malamutes to weigh 900 lbs. They love to eat and will eat until there is no nourishment left.  Expect starving frantic looks regardless of the possibility that they have just been fed. They are NOT starving; however, they will endeavor to persuade you they are. You should be intense. When you give a treat, give a TINY piece, not an entire roll. You do your dog no favors getting him fat. Inquisitively, it appears the fatter they get, the more they act like they are hungry.

5 Exotic Pets

With regard to exotic pets list, there are literally thousands, even millions of different weird pets and crazy pets to choose from if you are in mammals, reptiles, fish, birds and amphibians. For people who lean towards maintaining exotic plants, knowing unusual pets would best suit not only your lifestyle but which would be your ideal pet too, can be a bit of a challenge. You may not want something too difficult to keep or an animal that needs a very special environment to live in which could prove very costly to set up.

Fortunately, there is a large selection of exotic animals that are not as difficult to care for and five of them are listed below:

A Chinese fire belly Newt

Chinese tritons Belly Fire are semi-creatures -aquatic that boast bright orange belly – Hence their name. They are toxic but very slightly which means they must be handled with care. Therefore, even though they make the animals fascinating, they are not the best choice for young children to keep. They eat small invertebrates and must be kept in an environment where they can be in the water or out of it when they want. The only fascinating thing about these amazing creatures is that they can live a very long, if well cared for – from 10 to 20 years.

A bearded dragon

Native to Australia, the Bearded Dragon is very capable of adapting to many environments, be it a hot desert area or a dry forest. When kept in captivity, they need a safe place to live where the temperature is between 70 and 100 degrees; F and they need UVB light in their tanks. As with most reptiles moisture in their environment must be set at the right level or you may find that they have difficulty in pouring which could result in their discomfort.

You should also keep in mind is that male bearded dragons are incredibly territorial and therefore require careful handling. Males must also be kept in their own individual environment to avoid fighting and confrontation. The good news is that bearded dragons are quite easy to keep as pets.

Tarantulas

This fascinating creature has become a most popular rare pet in recent years. There is still some fear that potential owners, while keeping a tarantula as a pet is often more harmful to the animal than to the owner of the animal. The tarantulas may even die from a short fall, if their abdomen ruptures.

Tarantulas are poisonous, but in most species the toxicity of their venom is similar to a bee or wasp sting. In some cases, a person may have an allergic reaction to spider bites, in much the same way that some respond to bee stings.

There are hundreds of tarantula species, and some are more aggressive than others, so potential homeowners really need to research before buying one. The tarantulas are fascinating, calm, and in most cases, little space.

Cockroaches

Hissing cockards – These insects are perfect for beginners of pet owners! They are very docile and require little maintenance. If they are not “cute and cuddly” pet variety, they are very interesting. They whistle when they are disturbed, and the males whistle while courting a female. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, the entire colony will whistle in unison.

Hissing cockroaches are best kept in a large tank of wood chips. Water and fresh fruits and vegetables are all they require. They are rugged creatures and can live up to five years.

  • An African Pygmy Hedgehog

Adorably searching but rather thorny, the African Hedgehog Pygmy has quickly become a very popular exotic animal to keep as a pet. They are real characters and a lot of fun to have around, although they must be handled with care – sometimes it is worth wearing a pair of gloves because their feathers can be quite strong. The other thing you need to be careful is that your pet hedgehog does not put too much weight because they do like their food which means that if they do not get enough exercise – They may just start wearing too much weight that can lead to other health problems.

Conclusion

There is a large selection of exotic animals around which make wonderful pets. If you suffer from allergies but would like to share your home with an animal everything is not lost because you have the option of keeping fish, reptiles or other exotic species like pet snake and not having to worry about having an Allergic reaction to them. However, before choosing an exotic animal, in order to take care of it properly, you need to learn as much about them as possible so that they remain living happily and healthy in the right kind of environment.

 

 

The Best First Pet For Your Kids – And It’s Not A Puppy!

My kids are at an age where they are starting to ask if we can get a pet. ‘Please mummy we want a puppy dog!’

And I would love to buy them a little puppy. If I wasn’t a single, working mum living in a teeny house with a courtyard, who actually hates dealing with dog poo.

So – I did a little digging and heard out about a cute little pet that’s pretty low maintenance. And, wait for it – it’s a Hermit Crab. Yep, really.

A great first pet

According to India, hermit crabs are low maintenance. “Children can actually successfully look after them, rather than parents having to do everything, which is often the case with dogs and cats.”

Having a little pet like a hermit crab can be a really good learning experience for kids and build empathy too. “Observing and caring for a hermit crab instills a sense of responsibility and children understand that their behavior and actions directly affect others.”

Kids also learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival, she adds.

How do you look after a hermit crab? 

They are really simple to look after and there are 4 basic items for hermit crab care.

1.       Feed your hermit crab every two to three days

2.       Provide fresh water every two days

3.       Refresh the salt water bath every three days

4.       Make sure their enclosure is between 10-32 degrees

Feeding your hermit crab and providing fresh water will literally take anyone about 60 seconds, making them very easy to care for.

Also, in a win for parents, they create minimal mess and are odourless.

How long do they live for and what can go wrong?

“Their life expectancy can be anything from two to five years”. “Hermit crabs are very sociable animals and the more love, care and attention they receive, the happier they will be and the longer their life span.”

“Like humans, the cold temperatures in winter are when they are most vulnerable, so making sure they are warm is imperative,” she adds.

What kind of equipment and housing do you need for your hermit crab?

“All you need is their ‘habitat’ (enclosure), a food bowl a bowl for fresh water, a pool with salt water so they can have a swim, a little hut for them to climb under and sleep and something for them to climb on and have fun. While there is specially formulated food for them, they also eat most things, making them even easier to look after.”

And – one of their favorite treats is popcorn!

Source: Honey