February 23, 2018
Latest News
Science & Technology

Laika, the dog who opened the doors of space to humanity 60 years ago

Moscow, Nov 3 (efe-epa).- Friday marks the 60th anniversary of Laika, a dog from the streets of Moscow, undertaking a voyage in the spacecraft Sputnik 2 that made her the first living being to orbit the Earth, thus opening the doors of space to humanity.

Barely a month had passed since the launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, in Oct. 1957 and Soviet scientists were curious to find out how a living being would behave in low gravity conditions with the intention of eventually sending humans to space.

Prior to Laika's voyage, experiments had been carried out with monkeys in the United States and dogs in the Soviet Union, but all such experiments involved sub-orbital flights.

Given the design of Sputnik 2, the dog had to weigh between six and seven kilograms (13.2 to 15.4 pounds), measure no more 35 centimeters (13.8 inches) at the withers, be a stray since pedigree dogs are not as resistant, and be of light color, which experts believed would show up better in images.

For room and hygiene reasons, females were preferred, since, unlike males, they do not lift their legs to urinate, which made it easier to fit a sanitary system.

It was a voyage without return since the design of the system, which featured a food dispenser and an air regeneration system that would last seven days, did not allow her to be brought back to Earth.

There were two other candidates selected to potentially occupy Sputnik 2's chamber _ Albina, who had already undertaken two sub-orbital flights, and Muja, who was a rookie just like Laika.

Albina was reprieved because of the contributions she had already made to science, while Muja had slightly bowed front legs, which supposedly made her less photogenic.

Laika was operated upon in order to fit her with two sensors _ one in the ribs to control her breathing and another in her carotid arteries to monitor her pulse.

During the first few minutes of the flight, scientists detected a sharp acceleration in Laika's pulse and respiratory movements, but her physiological parameters gradually became normal.

However, after a few hours, due to calculation errors, the temperature in the capsule's interior rose to more than 40 degrees centigrade (104F), which resulted in Laika's death after she had encircled the Earth multiple times.

Soviet authorities decided to conceal the details and for a week reported on the dog's health, as if the trip had been taking place without incident, until it released the information that Laika, who was already a celebrity, had to be sacrificed.

Sputnik 2 continued to orbit the earth before it disintegrated during re-entry in April 1958.

While Laika became the last ever Soviet dog to be sent on a spacecraft without provisions to return, she was not the last canine to lose its life in the race to conquering space.

In July 1960, the dogs Chayka and Lisichka died in an explosion shortly after launch destroyed their Sputnik 5-1 spacecraft, which was equipped with a return system.

By Bernardo Suarez Indart

News history
Mexican finds way to reprogram neurons affected by Alzheimer's

Mexico City, Feb 22 (epa-efe).- Neurobiologist Luis Carrillo developed a technique to re-program neuron groups affected by degenerative brain diseases such...

Spain's PAZ satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Feb 22 (efe-epa).- Spain's earth-observation PAZ satellite was launched Thursday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from...

Studying the Big Bang and black holes at Mexico's Large Millimeter Telescope

Atzitzintla, Mexico, Feb 22 (efe-epa).- Researching the origin of the Universe and black holes are two major missions in 2018 for Mexico's Large Millimeter...

Launch of SpaceX rocket carrying Spanish PAZ satellite delayed

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- Wednesday's scheduled launch here of the Spanish earth-observation satellite PAZ atop a SpaceX...

ISS-bound trio take final exams in Moscow ahead of launch

Star City, Russia, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- A three-man crew that would soon be headed to the International Space Station was undergoing its final preparations...

Australia research team catches rare deep-sea fish

Sydney, Australia, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- An Australian research team caught thousands of rare fish from the deep ocean, some of them faceless while others are...

World's only non-Chinese-owned giant pandas reach advanced age in Mexico City

Mexico City, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- It's 10 am and Xin Xin, now 27 years old and 102 kilograms (225 pounds), walks slowly down a corridor to begin her daily...

Argentina must prepare youth for 21st-century jobs, Macri says

Buenos Aires, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- President Mauricio Macri emphasized on Wednesday the need to prepare Argentina's young people for 21st- century jobs that...

Preserved human bodies to go on display at exhibition in Hungary

Budapest (Hungary), Feb 14 (efe-epa).- Visitors to the Hungarian capital Budapest will soon have the chance to see over 200 dissected human bodies, organs...

Uruguay's capital digs into its colonial past

Montevideo, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- The recent discovery of vestiges of early Montevideo's colonial-era defense system has provided an opportunity to enhance and...

Russian Progress MS-08 cargo ship takes off from Kazakhstan for ISS

Moscow, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- A Russian Progress MS-08 cargo ship took off Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to resupply the International...

Young Mexicans create app to translate text, voice into sign language

Guadalajara, Mexico, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Young Mexicans from the western state of Jalisco developed a program to translate text and voice into the Mexican...

Argentine institution marks 60 years of successful scientific research

Buenos Aires, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Successful studies in the fields of transgenics and progress in the fight against cancer are some of the achievements of...

Russian rocket due to resupply space station aborts launch with seconds to go

Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan), Feb. 11 (efe-epa).- A spacecraft that was to due to resupply the International Space Station had its launch aborted with...

Chile observatory gains new tool in search for extraterrestrials

Santiago, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- Chile's Paranal Observatory is preparing for the debut of Espresso, a cutting-edge spectrograph that will aid in detection of...

At least 2,210 adult white sharks live off Australian coast

Sydney, Australia, Feb 9 (efe-epa) .- About 2,210 adult white sharks currently live off Australia's coast with an adult survival rate estimated at 90...

Miami scientists patent new cocaine test

Miami, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- Florida International University (FIU) scientists have patented a new test that detects the presence of cocaine in another...

European Space Agency to launch new mission to Int'l Space Station

Paris, Feb 7 (efe-epa).- The European Space Agency announced Wednesday that in 2019 it will launch a new mission to the International Space Station geared...

Falcon Heavy, world's largest rocket, lifts off on 1st flight

Cape Canaveral, Florida, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- The gigantic Falcon Heavy rocket, designed and manufactured by the private SpaceX company, on Tuesday lifted off...

Defense structures discovered in old colonial plaza of Montevideo

Montevideo, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- A battery of cannons that formed part of Montevideo's defenses in the 18th century, and the remains of 19th century houses...

Ozone recovering at poles, but declining over populated areas: ACP study

Geneva, Switzderland, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- The ozone layer has recovered at the poles, but the lower stratospheric ozone over the most populated latitudes has...

SpaceX to test Falcon Heavy, world's most powerful rocket

Miami, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- The gigantic Falcon Heavy rocket, with which the private company SpaceX plans to undertake future manned missions to Mars, will...

China's Tencent test runs smart store in Shanghai mall

Shanghai, China, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- Shoppers at a Shanghai Mall on Saturday got to experience tech giant Tencent's first unmanned offline store.

Japan launches micro-satellite rocket

Tokyo, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Saturday the world's smallest rocket with the ability to put a...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.