Animals in space has long been explored by the realms of science fiction, but as it has come to be known, a number of actual animals going to space has been documented over the past 50 or so years.
Just as animals are utilized as test subjects for human-consumption products (though this is now being frowned upon in most modern societies), animals were heavily utilized during the early days of space travel and exploration, with records dating back to the 1940s.
Fruit Flies are considered to be the first animals to have been to space, with tests dating as far as the 1940s. By 1949, a Rhesus Monkey named Albert II became the first monkey in space, as the 1950s witnessed mice being launched in space too.
In 1960, dogs were used as test subjects for space exploration, with two dogs named Strelka and Belka on board Sputnik 5. Also, in 1968, a tortoise was launched into space by the Soviet Union, which also had launched dogs as test subjects.
By the 1970s, different animals apart from monkeys and dogs were launched to space, this time including bullfrogs, fishes and garden spiders. Chicken embryos were then sent to space in the 1980s, along with newts, whose regeneration capacities were being studied in space’s airless environment.
Though the United States and Russia’s space endeavors have somewhat come to a pause since two decades ago, Iran is noted to have launched animals in space in 2010, including worms, two turtles and a mouse.
In 2011, the space shuttle Endeavor went to space with two golden orb spiders, along with a colony of fruit flies – which basically says something about coming home to a full circle, given the fact that the first documented animal test subjects in space were, fruit flies.
Animals in Space Video