Miss Baker

Image credit: NASA

I keep a little (well, alright, 200Mb) folder of my favourite space images on my PC, as it's a lot more convenient than finding things among the squillions of images stored on the disparate space agency sites around the net. For the most part, they're ordered by distance from the sun, and then sub-divided by moon/asteroid/whatever.

I like to take a nose around the directories from time to time, to see if there's anything that stands out to me on a repeat viewing - which is what happened when I bumped into Miss Baker above. Well, actually, my first response was to exclaim, "What the hell?" aloud and laugh, and then worry that maybe she actually died on the journey.

Despite the poor grasp of astronautics that she's displaying above, Miss Baker was one of the two first animals to be put into orbit around the Earth by NASA (or by any other space agency). She lived to the ripe old age of 27, and was buried near the US Space and Rocket Center.

Image credit: NASA

Miss Baker rode into space on one of these: a Jupiter Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile, which, when it was not being used to launch monkeys into space, was capable of destroying cities with nuclear warheads.

I guess my point is that we owe a lot to monkey astronauts.


mark said...

it somehow cheers me that miss baker reposes now near the site of her greatest adventure...an early explorer

LuluBunny said...

I've always found the monkey thing to be really sad - and the Sputnik dogs too - this almost made me cry: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2367681.stm

Pacian said...

It's to NASA's credit that they always tried to bring their animals back safely, while the Soviets seemed happy to just fire and forget.

chiya said...

I remember there was a Curious George book about him going in space.

I'm glad she came back safely as well. Did the russians try to get laika the dog back safely, or did they just not even bother trying? it would be sad if they didn't bother.

that picture made me laugh too :)

tinker said...

I'm both glad that she survived to a ripe old age, and find it heartwarming that she was treated with such respect, in a proper form of address. Though I do wonder what her first name was...