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Animals die after being blasted into space by Russian scientists

A Russian space capsule carrying mice, newts and gerbils, amongst other creatures, has landed back on Earth after spending one month in space. According to scientists, all of the gerbils died because of equipment failure and the majority of the mice and newts also died due to the stresses of space.

In a joint venture between Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, and their American equivalent NASA, 45 mice, 15 newts, 8 gerbils, as well as lizards, snails and fish were forced into a capsule attached to a Russian rocket and propelled 345 miles into space. The rocket was launched from neighbouring Kazakhstan on the 19th of April as part of a mission to determine the effect of weightlessness on the body. Also on board were over two dozen measuring devices that recorded the animals’ heart rate and blood pressure throughout the trip. The majority of the animals died in space and the ones who did survive the traumatic experience were sent straight to Moscow to be killed and dissected in further tests. Russia claims that the results from this experiment will help with a manned mission to Mars in 2030. 

Sadly, sending animals into space is nothing new; the first animal, a macaque called Albert was sent into orbit in 1949. Since then many animals have been forced to follow, including various species of primates, dogs, rats, mice and frogs, many of whom have never returned. The BUAV is deeply concerned that there is a current trend to repeat these expeditions. Earlier this year the Iran attempted to send a macaque into space, but it remains unclear whether or not the monkey survived.