Scientists are training a new sort of astronaut. In 1947 fruit flies were first. In 1949 a monkey named Albert II made the journey and in 1957 t was Laika the dog who made the trip to space. Animals have been making the journey for quite some time and not always surviving to make the trip home. Missions of longer and longer stays have been studied in hopes of making man’s survival in space a fait accompli. A 2007 trip lasted twelve days but this most recent trip lasted 30 days. Traveling in orbit at a height that is greater than that of the ISS ( 575 kilometers ) these cosmonauts - Lizards, Mice and a number of Gerbils underwent the effects of space, from the weightlessness to the effects of the cellular level. Actually so did plants and microorganisms. There were over 70 experiments undergone over a four week stay.
Apparently Gecko’s are a robust species. Of the animals sent up, all the gerbils died due to an equipment failure, half the mice were lost - which was apparently predictable, but all the Geckos survived. These surviving animals will be sent to Moskow to the Biomedical Problems Institute where they will be studied. The data collected will help us to understand microgravity’s effect better. The biological results expected from calcium loss, shrinking muscles and blood pressure changes which are temporary to the many long term effects and each surviving animals reactions will aid future space travelers – cosmonauts and astronauts of all species, in providing data on how these can be lessened or eliminated for future space travelers.