Cats In Zero Gravity And Other Interstellar Animals

On June 15, 2014 by Lazer Horse

Animals in space - zero gravity cat

I did a post showcasing some of the best GIFs on the internet yesterday, one of them featured some cats in zero gravity. It didn’t look faked so I delved a bit further and found out exactly why they were confusing cats for their own entertainment.

Personally I’d never wondered how a cat would respond to zero gravity, but the US Airforce had wondered. They were also in the unique position of having enough time and money to find out. So they took some cats and pigeons up on a C-131 jet and treated the unwitting beasts to 13 seconds of zero gravity conditions.

Scientists know that cats always land on their feet, and that’s because they’re wily. When they’re in space however, there brain doesn’t know which way is down so they just float about like a mong; much like humans do. Here’s the poor moggies looking spun out:

 

 

These cats and pigeons are amongst friends. Plenty of other animals have been inflicted with the zero gravity treatment. According to scientists they adapt very quickly, especially mice. Within five minutes mice will be floating upside down and grooming without a care in the world.

Here’s how the pigeons reacted, they got into a bit of a flap:

 

 

That wasn’t the only time that the American elite took it upon themselves to confuse cats. They had another bash in the 80’s. This time the cat really spazzed out. Big time. He gets himself all wrapped up in the cables and everything. It does seem a little bit cruel, but when compared to other acts of cruelness in the world, I’m happy to point and laugh:

 

 

These cats and pigeons are part humanity’s rich tapestry of sending animals into space. At least the ones above came back alive. Initially animals were flung into the cosmos just to see if it was survivable, and then later for more detailed experimentation purposes.

MORE CAT STUFF:

WILD CATS PT1: PALLA’S CAT

WILD CATS PT2: SERVAL

WILD CATS PT3: SUNDA CLOUDED LEOPARD

All in all seven countries have blasted animals into space: the Soviet Union, the United StatesFranceArgentinaChinaJapan and Iran. But even before we sent animals into space we were using them to test our fledgling aviation. In 1783 the Montoglfier brothers sent a sheep, a duck and a rooster up in a hot air balloon (the duck was the control in the experiment).

The first ever animals sent into space were fruit flies, they were sent up to test the effect of solar radiation. Amazingly they were returned alive. The first large animal to go was Albert II a rhesus monkey, he was flung up into space by the Americans in 1949. Albert II died on impact after a parachute malfunction, poor guy. Pictured below is either Albert I or II looking really rather camp don’t you think?:

Animals in space - Albert Space Monkey

During the 40’s and 50’s the Americans sent up a lot of monkeys and in total their survival rates were only one in three.

Animals in space - Albert Space Monkey II

In 1951 the Russians launched a couple of dogs – Tsygan and Desik – into space (but not orbit). These two fine chaps became the first higher organisms to have been in space and returned alive and remain healthy.

Animals in space - dogs - Tsygan and Desik

The first dog to reach orbit was Laika, launched on Sputnik 2 in 1957. Laika was a stray dog that was picked up, received a couple of days of training and was then shot into space. The technology to bring something back from orbit was not yet invented so poor old Laika was left up there to die. (Along with around 10 other dogs that followed in subsequent missions.)

Animals in space - Laika

The Russian space agency chose a stray dog because they assumed she had already learned to deal with extremes in temperature and hunger. Initially Laika was reported to have died from lack of Oxygen after around six days, but in 2002 the Russians came clean and admitted she had died of overheating due to some kind of tech malfunction after just a few hours.

Animals in space - Laika 2

Vladimir Yazdovsky, who led the program of test dogs used on rockets, in a later publication wrote that “Laika was quiet and charming”. It’s not often that a stray dog is recognised by a super power is it?:

Animals in space - Laika space monument

So us humans have been frigging around with animals in zero gravity for quite some time it seems. We’re mean aren’t we?

MORE SPACE STUFF:

RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY ON INSTAGRAM

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR TEETH IN SPACE

TURDS IN SPACE

THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

NASA SUN BLAST VIDEO

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