Russia is in the midst of an experiment to see how various life forms react in space. On Friday, they launched forty-five mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, fifteen geckos and various other species into orbit around the earth for one month.
The animals will be monitored from the ground and scientists hope to learn more about how long stretches in outer-space will impact humans.
For those animal lovers were are at least thankful that this is Russia’s mission, and not something that NASA concocted, unfortunately, they do have a hand in the experiment.
Nicole Rayl, project manager for NASA’s portion of the mission, told SPACE.com, “The unique nature of this mission is that it’s a 30-day mission, so it’s longer than a lot of the other animal and biological missions we’ve flown. The big importance for us is that we get to compare data from this longer mission with better analytical tools that we have today, [compared] to the missions we’ve flown in the past that were similar but not exactly the same.”
Animal lovers, like us, will hate this next bit. All the animals are expected to return home alive from their one month journey, but upon arrival, they will not get the hero’s welcome that human astronauts are treated to. They will be “humanely euthanized” in order to collect data.
What kinds of things do they hope to discover from these animal sacrifices? Space and its impact on the health of sperm to name one. Also, how the body’s systems in general react and change in space.