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Thread: The Death of Laika

  1. #1 The Death of Laika 
    Forum Masters Degree invert_nexus's Avatar
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    Well, this may not be news to many of you, but it is to me:

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/sp...29/russia.dog/
    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/enc...L/La/Laika.htm

    Laika, the first animal in space, sent up in 1957 in the Sputnik 2, died within hours of the satellite being launched. Previous to this admission, the Soviets had claimed that she lived 10 days before dying from either poisoned food (euthanized) or lack of oxygen. One would think that this either/or scenario about her death would kinda clue people in... but anyway.

    The Sputnik 2 was a landmark mission. The second orbital flight. The first live animal in space. This mission inspired the world. This mission could very well be said to be the true inspiration for the space race.

    It was controversial from the very beginning. Not only was this the first animal in space, but it was the only animal sent to space without any plans of returning it alive and unharmed to the Earth. Animal lovers were up in arms all over the globe over this.

    And now it turns out that the dog didn't even survive a day.

    Strange.


    I suppose this thread is about the ethics involved.
    There are a couple of ethical situations to consider. The fact that no retrieval was planned. And, the fact that the success of the mission was a lie.

    Also to consider is the delicate weave of history. An animal in space was most likely inevitable since Sputnik hit orbit. Perhaps even earlier with the various suborbital flights of various rockets. (Some involving animals as well.) But, there is a chance that had Laika not been sent up in Sputnik 2, at that time, at that hour, that none of what followed might have occurred. We may never have reached the moon. The space race might have fizzled before it began.

    Or consider if the animal's death had been released at the time? Might this too have killed the romantic notion of man in space?


    I think it inevitable that man would continue to strive for space, just as he did for the sky, but who knows?

    Did Laika have to die?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman Destruct's Avatar
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    That is pretty sad, even the original false scenario was sad. Then again a dog is barely more intelligent than a rat and we kill rats in the name of science by the millions, and we keep pigs in pretty lousy conditions and they are intelligent too. Not to mention all the monkeys we vivisect.

    Back then the name of the game was cold war propaganda, so it makes sense they'd exagerate their success. I expect the data they aquired, while not made public, was scientifically useful anyway.

    I wonder if they really did intend to euthenize Laika humanely or just leave it to suffocate/starve/dehydrate. I think science should make significant efforts to minimise the sufferring of the animals it uses, and uses a few animals as needed.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree invert_nexus's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that the Sputnik 2 really offered that much in the way of research. It was as rushed as the Sputnik was. More of a beacon and a symbol than anything else.

    However, I'm sure there were some things learned from the mistakes. Mostly to do with keeping things alive in space. Even though they failed...
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  5. #4  
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    Well, I could imagine worse deaths. Especially for a dog. Thousands of dogs die in laboratories testing medications. Laika died trying to advance mankind in the struggle to reach the stars (and probably compete with the US). Is it bad that a life was sacrificed for it? Probably. Would you have rather wished it was a man?

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  6. #5  
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    But the dog didnt know what it was doing, i mean, ennocent dog. I would preffered a person..... like someone I really hate
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman Destruct's Avatar
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    Well, I could imagine worse deaths. Especially for a dog. Thousands of dogs die in laboratories testing medications. Laika died trying to advance mankind in the struggle to reach the stars (and probably compete with the US). Is it bad that a life was sacrificed for it? Probably. Would you have rather wished it was a man?
    I can imagine better deaths too, like a nice heroin/cocaine hotshot after a great meal and (god willing) a final real life sexual fanatsy of the dog's choice.

    If the argument is that an entity of complexity <X should be proud to be killed without consent to further the knowledge of an entity complexity X, should we be happy to die to further the lifestyle of aliens more complicated than ourselves? Not saying that I have a comfortable answer to that question, unless there are no superior beings or they never encounter humans.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Junior Cottontop3000's Avatar
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    Speaking of dogs, I heard on CNN last week that dogs are now considered (by everbody?) to be humans' closest genetic relative. We are apparently closer to dogs genetically than we are to apes or monkeys, or any other animal. Anyone else hear about this?
    Death Beckons
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  9. #8  
    Forum Masters Degree invert_nexus's Avatar
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    Speaking of dogs, I heard on CNN last week that dogs are now considered (by everbody?) to be humans' closest genetic relative. We are apparently closer to dogs genetically than we are to apes or monkeys, or any other animal.
    Totally off topic. And completely ridiculous. You had to have misheard. Even journalists couldn't be that stupid.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by flying_kiwi
    But the dog didnt know what it was doing, i mean, ennocent dog. I would preffered a person..... like someone I really hate
    Well I hate dogs, so....














    Just kidding!
    http://anomalous.wordpress.com/ - Vist Blog To See Video and Photographic Strange Sh...Stuff.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by invert_nexus
    Speaking of dogs, I heard on CNN last week that dogs are now considered (by everbody?) to be humans' closest genetic relative. We are apparently closer to dogs genetically than we are to apes or monkeys, or any other animal.
    Totally off topic. And completely ridiculous. You had to have misheard. Even journalists couldn't be that stupid.
    If you notice he says, "By everybody". Which probably means a poll was done with about 500 to 1000 idiots and asked which animals was closest to our genetic relative? Polls sometimes illustrate how stupid society is, not correct.

    The closest to us is the alien-human hybrid.
    http://anomalous.wordpress.com/ - Vist Blog To See Video and Photographic Strange Sh...Stuff.
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  12. #11  
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    Chimps are the closest to human beings...arent they?
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by invert_nexus
    Speaking of dogs, I heard on CNN last week that dogs are now considered (by everbody?) to be humans' closest genetic relative. We are apparently closer to dogs genetically than we are to apes or monkeys, or any other animal.
    Totally off topic. And completely ridiculous. You had to have misheard. Even journalists couldn't be that stupid.
    Yeah, I must have misheard. Couldn't find anything much in Google about it.

    P.S. Sorry to have gotten you off topic.
    Death Beckons
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  14. #13  
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    In retrospect not that surprising, actually. I don't know the details of how they had suited Laika, but I cannot see a dog having enough sheer bulk to help with surviving the G forces. With the shock of takeoff, it wouldn't surprise me that Laika probably sustained internal damage from the G force, and had a somewhat painful and extended death once the rocket was in orbit.

    In case you think that G force would be lower on an older flight, the opposite is true. The earliest space rockets undoubtedly had the greatest G forces (since all they were required to do was achieve orbit, not deploy anything significant or precision-placed, or carry people). The American Mercury missions had take-off G forces of up to 7G, compared to only about 3G for modern Shuttle missions.
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