Once more I have been found misleading my bandmates. Laika didn't make it back. Laika didn't even come close to making it back. For years they pretended she had lived for a few days but one of the main scientists involved disclosed in 2002 that she had lived for only 7 hours in space as the thermal control system in the cabin had malfunctioned. You can get the whole sorry tale here
. I find the image of this local furry squid stading alertly and happily to attention in her smart space harness quite affecting next to the story.
Poor old Bars and Lisichka didn't even last seven hours as their rocket exploded 28.5 seconds after launch. At least they had each other. I could only find one photo that might have been of one of them.
Finally Belka and Strelka made it back alive! They travelled with a grey rabbit, 42 mice, 2 rats, flies and a number of plants and fungi. What a gay time they must have had during their day in space. Interestingly Belka and Strelka, pictured below, get the guernsey of first earth bound animals in space to return happily and not the rabbit or one of the anonymous 42 mice.
By contrast to Laika, Belka looks suitably concerened about the mission (perhaps someone had told her about the first two attempts?). She doesn't, to me, look panicked, despite the wide eyes, so much as resigned and melancholic. Strelka on the other hand looks stoicly resolute about carrying out the task, not unlike Animal Farm's Boxer.
For more on Russian space dogs (for there are many) look here
Ham the chimp
, our first American entrant, made it back! And can be seen here giving the handshake upon return...although knowing the Americans penchant for faking moon landings this may not be Ham and they just pretended and used another chimp.
This is band blog worthy as hopefully the working titled song, Words from Ham, will be produced shortly.
Labels: 42 Mice, Ham, Smart Space Harness