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Mice Return from Russian Space Mission, Only Half Survive

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi

Animal advocates were outraged when Russia announced they were sending mice, lizards, fish and other species to space for a 30 day mission. Now, the journey is over and the animals are back on earth, but not all of them made it. And even worse than that, the ones who did come back alive will be killed as part of the research.

Out of the 53 mice that Russia sent into space, less than half came back alive. No details have been released on how the mice died. According to the AP, Vladimir Sychov, deputy director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems, said that this was to be expected. Sychov noted on Russian television, “This is the first time that animals have flown in space for so long on their own.” The research was designed to better help scientists understand the impacts of space travel (such as weightlessness) on cell structure.

Nicole Rayl, project manager for NASA’s portion of the mission, had said before the launch that in order to gather the data from the animals upon their return, they would need to be “humanely euthanized.” What we’d like to know is what caused the mice to perish while traveling 575 kilometers above the earth. Food? Stress? Air quality? Something else? Did they suffer? The only small consolation for the returning animals is that their death will likely be quick and relatively painless.  We doubt information will be released on why many of the mice in particular didn’t make make it. The lizards all came back alive. (Again, their survival will sadly be short lived.) We just hope this is the last time any animal that didn’t dream of growing up to be an astronaut gets sent up to space.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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  • schumachiavelli

    Sad, surely, but then this is how scientific progress is made. They didn’t rocket these animals up there at $10,000 per pound (or whatever crazy number it takes to get something into orbit) for no reason than to get off on some bizarre and expensive form of animal torture. It’s called research, and sometimes it means breaking eggs in order to make the omelet.

    So long as their methodology isn’t purposefully more inhumane than is inherently necessary, quit the bitching.

    • Urging you to take a look at the Alternatives and the world-wide push to switch to them! This is a very informative site on Reducing Refining and Replacing (the 3R’s of Alternatives to Animal Experimentation)


  • jarjarbinksNSW

    Better a few mice, lizards and fish die than all life on the planet die because we were unwilling to develop technology. With or without humans, life on earth has an expiration date. It takes intelligent species to overcome that limitation. If it is not humans, than the next intelligent species to evolve would do it or perish.

  • Tom Stanley

    And how does the author know that mice don’t dream of going into space?

    • species5618w

      And how does the author know that captured mice didn’t dream to die.

      • And how does the author know that space didn’t dream of mice?

  • Evarin Sharath’fe

    Animal research is the foundation of nearly all biological scientific advances throughout the history of mankind.

  • Crazy.. everyday thousands of mice are getting killed in laboratories, clinical trials and schools yet this is a story? 50 mice… shite, I think in my old shop I may have killed 50 mice within a 24hr period once

  • Alec

    What a crock, sensational media at its finest. What animal activists were outraged? did you interview them?

  • fartypantsmcgee

    So should we send up Humans instead and see if they survive the tests? These animal rights people are complete idiots. They’ve probably never watched a single nature show or have the slightest clue of how nature works. I don’t see them protesting the sale of rat poison, bug spray, and ant traps.

  • Jeff Geraci

    So does that give us the LD-50 for exposure to Russian space travel? PEL would ostensibly be much lower.

  • jimmybbbb

    Oh yeah! You gotta love people that love their animals/pests more than other people.

    Poor article, lame reporting.

  • Ryan Mercer

    Figures. The reptiles always survive. Any chance the mice died of reptilian oppression? 😉

  • Jairus

    Granola munching, pot smoking, animal !ucking, tree hugger!!!

    • solaveisucks

      better than being a troll i suppose… why are you on this site exactly???

  • Live things reveal more info. Sure, there would have to be complex methodology but that’s cheap compared to the costs of orbit. Live animal evaluation must surely be better than the limited data gleaned from chemical testing of dead animals.
    When alive, variations of all sorts of chemicals AND actions would have been slightly different, such as adrenalin and mating habits. Sided with “control” species may have even identified either problematic or even improved respiratory or psychological traits caused from ZG…
    Seems like much valuable info was wasted by killing them afterwards! Besides, what good info comes from dead animals (that we don’t already know about).
    Mice are to be killed at home, not in space, lol.

  • disqus_Rp41Wx6rdh

    Where does it show ANYONE was ‘outraged.’ Is this an attempt to troll?

  • I say we send up those on death row. Why aren’t we asking those people to donate their bodies to science? At least they can actually give consent…

  • Stephen Hawking and a group of top scientists made the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness of all-animals. The evidence has tipped the scales to think otherwise, and it is time to ramp up the 3R’s of Alternatives to animal research (reduction, refinement, and replacement). It’s time to evolve!!


    Take care, Sandy

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