Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Remembering Laika

With everyone remembering Sputnik this week, I have chosen to turn my thoughts to Sputnik II and the first animal in orbit.

A month after sputnik, in honor of the November 7 date of the Russian Revolution, a second sputnik was launched by the Godless Communists in the Kremlin. To show an advance over the first launch, this once included the dog Laika as a passanger. Laika is most often seen in pictures, wearing her little space suit, prior to the big launch, or as laika probably thought of it, her murder. There was never, of course, any plan to bring Laika back, Laika was (and is) a martyr to the scintific process, like the millions upon millions of her fellow beings who have perished so that we humans would have a better chance of living, or, at least not be hurt by new types of makeup.The USA never sent any dogs into space. We prefered mokeys.

But old Laika is pretty well forgotten by now, she died on her flight, from heat related problems. I assume that Sputnik II must have long ago decayed, fallen out of orbit and burned up any doggie remains. It is forgotten that, at the time, a lot of people were pretty upset at the Russians for launching poor Laika to her certain doom. Even members of the Soviet Science community later expressed misgivings about the one way ticket given to the poor dog. She was only three years old when she took her last ride, doggie prime !part Huskie, part terrier, Laika the mongrel was unfairly characterized by the American press as "Muttnik" because of her heritage.She had been found,a stray, wandering the streets of Moscow (she never made that mistake again) and had been "recruited" by the Soviet Physicists, along with two other similarly situated cannines to train for an orbital flight. It is certainly doubtful that Laika knew what she was getting herself into. Although one of the other dogs who trained with her took two suborbital flights, so maybe the word was passed along.

Most dogs have to die to be remebered. Old Yaller, Marley, that dog that belonged to Odysseus and poor Laika. Many dogs (including most of those who pull sleds in alaska) probably wonder how "man" treats everyone else if this is how he treats his best friend. Still Laika is immortal. The only mammal I know of who actually died in outer space. Others have dies upon take off, landing and reentry.But Laika may stand alone with regard to her demise. Of course, there might have been a monkey or two who did not make it back. I forget.


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