We all know chimps and dogs have been to space.
But did you know one of the earliest animal astronauts was a mouse?
I was so fascinated by the true stories of animal astronauts that I decided to include an illustrated timeline at the end of my new picture book, called Stellarphant ⭐🐘🚀
I couldn’t fit much detail into the book, though, so I’m sharing my research here.
So let’s get started with the very first animal astronaut …
🥁🥁🥁 * drum roll * 🥁🥁🥁
1947: FRUIT FLY
Date: Feb 20, 1947
Mission: V-2 Rocket No.20
The very first earthlings to travel into space!
The United States launched fruit flies in a V2 rocket to an altitude of 109km (68mi), testing them for radiation exposure.
The fruit flies were recovered alive.
Many years later, fruit fly eggs were also among the first bits of Earthling life to land on the far side of the moon! They were in a small biosphere experiment in the Chang’e 4 Chinese probe which landed on January 3rd, 2019. So far, not even humans have been to the far side of the moon; all our moon missions landed on the near side.