Sunday, February 24, 2013

Laika, and Other Dogs in Space

A surprising number of non-human animals have been to space, from as early as 1947, when fruit flies were placed aboard a U.S.-launched V-2 rocket. Animals have been pioneers of aeronautic exploration since 1783 when the Montgolfier brothers sent a sheep, a duck and a rooster up in a hot-air balloon. Of all the fruit flies, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, frogs, goldfish and monkeys, perhaps none is as famous as Laika, a female stray dog, launched aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2 spacecraft, on November 3, 1957, into orbit. She died from over-heating (and no provisions had made to rescue her in the absence of technology to return from orbit), though at the time the Soviet governement had claimed she ran out of oxygen. Her mission did prove that higher organisms could survive being launched into orbit, and weightlessness, paving the way for humans to follow suit. She makes for a popular illustration subject. Here are some my favorite portraits of Laika and her colleagues.

Laika, First Dog In Space by Eric R. Mortensen. Source: via minouette on Pinterest

Phineas X. Jones (Octophant). 9.5" x 25" Screenprint. Seven Screens on French Nightshift Blue 100 Lb Cover. Edition of 38. Signed & Numbered. (By the way, you should go check out his entire portfolio of awesomeness. I have his Bathysphere on my wall because would could resist an ocean-exploring three-toed sloth screenprint? Not this marine geophysicist/printmaker).

Nick Abadzis. Source: via Explore on Pinterest

This is from the graphic novel Laika by Nick Abadzis (see an excerpt here).

Source: via Business on Pinterest

'Strelka The Space Dog' by Berkley illustration, who selected Strelka, who survived her time in space, rather than Laika, who did not.

Adam Quest. Source: via Nora on Pinterest

This illustration from a Russian matchbox is of Belka (Белка, literally, "Squirrel", but as a dog's name most likely means "Whitey", from Russian: "белый" (for "white")) and Strelka (Стрелка, "Little Arrow") who spent a day in space aboard Korabl-Sputnik-2 (Sputnik 5) on August 19, 1960 before safely returning to Earth.

Dribbble - Space Animal Stamp Series - Laika by Eric R. Mortensen. Source: via Katie on Pinterest

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