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Lesson 14 – Animals in Space—Fair or Not?

Read About Animals in Space

Vocabulary

Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.

Microgravity is very weak levels of gravity, usually seen in space.

An object orbits when it travels in a curved path around another object in space, such as Earth or a star.

Radiation is a form of energy that is given off as rays, electromagnetic waves, or particles; Earth’s biggest source of radiation is the Sun.

Animals in Space—Fair or Not?

Cats, dogs, frogs, guinea pigs, and monkeys. Did you know all of these animals have been launched into space?

Before sending anyone into space, no one knew how travelling so far from Earth’s surface would affect humans. Could astronauts survive the launch and re-entry? What about surviving space radiation? What effect would microgravity have on them?

Scientists knew that there were no machines they could launch that would give them all the answers they needed. They decided to send animals to test the trip.

In 1957, Russian scientists launched the dog Laika (the name means “Barker” in Russian), who became the first animal to orbit Earth. A dog was chosen because scientists felt it could endure the long stretches of inactivity involved in space travel. Sadly, Laika died when her spacecraft overheated.

Today, animals are still sent into space to take part in experiments. For instance, does floating confuse animals? Laura Lewis, from NASA Ames Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee tested that question. She found that mice adapted very quickly to floating. Within minutes, the mice were grooming themselves and eating.

Laika spacecraft mockup
One of the mice sent to orbit Earth inside a spinning spacecraft

To learn more about animals in space, watch the video by SciShow Space on Youtube.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.

Read About Animals in Space

Vocabulary

Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.

Microgravity is very weak levels of gravity, usually seen in space.

An object orbits when it travels in a curved path around another object in space, such as Earth or a star.

Radiation is a form of energy that is given off as rays, electromagnetic waves, or particles; Earth’s biggest source of radiation is the Sun.

Animals in Space—Fair or Not?

Cats, dogs, frogs, guinea pigs, and monkeys. Did you know all of these animals have been launched into space?

Before sending anyone into space, no one knew how travelling so far from Earth’s surface would affect humans. Could astronauts survive the launch and re-entry? What about surviving space radiation? What effect would microgravity have on them?

Scientists knew that there were no machines they could launch that would give them all the answers they needed. They decided to send animals to test the trip.

In 1957, Russian scientists launched the dog Laika (the name means “Barker” in Russian), who became the first animal to orbit Earth. A dog was chosen because scientists felt it could endure the long stretches of inactivity involved in space travel. Sadly, Laika died when her spacecraft overheated.

Today, animals are still sent into space to take part in experiments. For instance, does floating confuse animals? Laura Lewis, from NASA Ames Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee tested that question. She found that mice adapted very quickly to floating. Within minutes, the mice were grooming themselves and eating.

Laika spacecraft mockup
One of the mice sent to orbit Earth inside a spinning spacecraft

To learn more about animals in space, watch the video by SciShow Space on Youtube.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.