Animals in space

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Image via Polandeze

Animals have been sent into space since the first rockets left earth. From flies and ants to monkeys and dogs - we’ve sent all kinds of creatures across the final frontier to observe their behaviour in outer space conditions.

Back in the day, these cosmic critters often became as famous as the astronauts themselves. Take Laika, for example, a stray dog taken from the streets of Moscow who became the first animal to orbit earth in 1957. Sent on the Sputnik 2 - a vessel that was designed to not be retrieved - Laika’s death sparked an international debate on the morality of animal testing.

Today, space-bound scientific experiments are still carried out, but on less cuddly creatures. In January 2015 a colony of ants hit the headlines after they were sent to the International Space Station in an experiment to see how zero gravity would affect their ability to work as a team. The scientists found that the ants were still able to use teamwork to search new areas, despite falling off the walls of their containers for up to eight seconds at a time.

We became so fascinated by animals in space that we decided to map a timeline of every astro animal that’s ever lived.

Like animals? Like space? You'll love our top-selling animal, and space-related magazines: National Geographic and All About Space.