The use of animals in flight samples has a long and colorful history. The first recorded incidence of anyone using animals to test the effects of height on organisms was 1783; Montgolfier Brothers, the inventors responsible for the first human-manned air ballooning flight, sent a hot air balloon with a payload of a pile, sheep and duck.
The logic behind their choice was that one may be thought to be reasonable near the physiology of a human being, able to duck as control to determine the effect of the balloon itself (because ducks are used to fly at high heights) and male as secondary control because It could fly, but not at such elevations. The flight was a success and both the balloon and the animals enjoyed an eight-minute flight over the French countryside.
About one and a half centuries later in the 1940s, the United States began experimenting with high altitude weather balloons and sent everything from mice to dogs to monkeys up to 144,000 feet. However, it was not until 1947 that some earthly creatures were actually launched in the earth's soil. The first creatures to visit the space were a colony of fruitflies launched aboard an American V2 rocket on February 20, 1947. The rocket reached a height of 68 miles before draining the payload. The burden of rest was successfully restored.
From that time on, a variety of animals were launched in space for stays anywhere from a few minutes as long as possible to bypass the earth. Monkeys, dogs, mice, bullfrogs and turtles were all launched in space. The first successful space trip was actually completed by a turtle. Two Horsfield Tortoises were launched in space by the Soviet Union in 1968; The ship was on board the successfully circulated moon and returned to the ground after a week long journey.
Although most space programs have moved away from using larger mammals, insects, fish and small mammals are still regularly used to study the effects of microwaves, radiation and other effects encountered while spending time in space.
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