I’ve recently developed a minor obsession with world renown dog-Cosmonaut, Laika.
Laika was the first dog – nay, the first living creature to orbit the earth. She was also the first animal to die in space. She was sent up onboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. From what I’ve read, she likely died within hours of the launch due to overheating. To be sure, plenty of controversy surrounded the decision to send an animal into space with no return plan. Scientists argued that in order to asses the safety and feasibility of sending humans into orbit, they would first need to test the effects of space travel on smaller beings. Laika was a stray dog, previously named Kudryvaka. After undergoing a series of tests with two other dogs, she was chosen for the trip. Laika was only three years old at the time of the launch.
The little dog has become somewhat of an international hero following her fatal mission. Several nations have released stamps with Laika’s adorable face on them, and there is a monument erected in Moscow. There are several songs about the tiny dog, a band named after her, and an entire graphic novel dedicated to her story. There is even a Christian sect that has taken Laika as their patron saint and refer to themselves as the “Saint Laikas”.
I’ve been amassing photos of Laika in a Pinterest board, and I wanted to share the best ones with y’all:
1) Close up of the beautiful Laika. 2) Russian matchbox cover. 3) Laika stamps issued in the UAE. 4) Laika and her ship. 5) Cover of the graphic novel about Laika. 6) A company called Gelada makes these great Laika t-shirts. I bought one for Josh – not only does it feature a dog we love, but it’s really soft! 7) Laika tattoo – something that’s certainly been on my mind. 8) Laika toy.
Click photos for sources.
This girl’s story breaks my heart. It causes me to entertain all sorts of impossible thoughts, like what I would have to do to get my hands on a time machine and save her. Very little knowledge was gained from Laika’s mission into space. Her life and untimely demise are a painful reminder of the evils of animal experimentation. In conclusion: run to the nearest companion animal and give ’em a big hug.