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Chimps in space: 50 years on

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posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 07:22 AM
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news.bbc.co.uk...




50 years ago today NASA sent the first chimpanzee into space. Ham the "astrochimp" returned to earth safely after a flight lasting just over 16 minutes.

The National Space Centre's Anu Ojha explains why animal welfare wasn't high on the agenda in space travel.



Here is a short clip of an interview on the 50th anniversary of sending the first chimp into space.
It describes some of what they put these animals through.

www.guardian.co.uk...


Fifty years ago tomorrow an African-born astronaut made it into space ahead of Soviet pioneer Yuri Gagarin. His name was Ham, a chimpanzee born in July 1957 in the rainforests of what was then the French Cameroons. He was bought by the US Air Force to be used in early space flight experiments for $457 – not a bad investment as it turned out


So it poses some interesting questions about how these early space pioneers were treated, although it seems that much was learned from these tests.




posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 07:47 AM
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are you joking? how theyw ere treated ? they were treated much better then zoo animals you think nasa wanted a sick or stressed chimp in a pod?
listen do us all a faver look up lika (lika was the VERY VERY first animal into space and she was NOT a chimp.
she was a dog a RUSSIAN dog and for poor lika it was a ONE way trip.
and the Russians planed it that way.
Chimps give me a brake they were cared for very very good . Poor lika probably didn't even get a last meal.
And because we are on animals that were used in the space program.
most people know how many American astronauts died (17) 3 apollo 1961 -7 shuttle challenger 1986 and 7 more shuttle 2003
and wile its not widly know nore listed any place you can find alest 58 cosmonauts have died in the Russian space program . .
and this is only what they admit to.
out of all the animals listed ONLY the chimp lived
yae i am really into teh space program

edit on 31-1-2011 by xxcalbier because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 08:01 AM
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Glad I did a search.

S&F

I didn't know about this little guy Ham.

Great story.



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 10:24 AM
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reply to post by xxcalbier
 


Yeak, Laika got the short end of the space stick, that's for sure. Her life support system partially failed; the fan system that was supposed to keep her capsule below 15 degrees C did not activate when it was supposed to and some of the thermal insulation tore off, so she died of heat stress rather miserably, like leaving your dog in a hot car. On the final day of the mission about a week in they were going to euthanize her painlessly so that she wouldn't die stressed by suffocation (safe re-entry systems did not exist yet), but due to the life support system failure she died quite unexpectedly and quite prematurely... by the 4th orbit approximately 6 hours into the mission. Temperature and humidity readings inside the capsule indicated both were increasing consistently on each orbit. Temperature inside the capsule hit 40 degrees C.

Our chimps were treated quite well, particularly since they were retreived from orbit if they showed signs of stress, and I suspect the procedures used would have passed modern IACUC standards. Ham only went sub-orbital, Enos was the first chimp to go orbital in 1961. 3 orbits were planned, but the flight was ended early after 2 orbits. Enos was trained to receive rewards for performing certain functions when cued and mild shocks for performing the wrong function... he did the right functions during the mission but due to a malfunction he received shocks anyway, frustrating the hell out of him and causing him to try to rip his suit off. He did prove however that normal motor coordination could be retained in sustained zero-g conditions, even with additional stressors. Controllers saw what was happening and terminated the mission for that and other reasons including a thruster malfunction and a temperature elevation in the capsule due to a faulty power inverter. Enos was quite happy about coming home and reportedly ran all over the deck of the recovery ship shaking everyone's hands. Sadly he died of an antibiotic resistant disease about a year later unrelated to his space flight.



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 06:40 PM
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Originally posted by pazcat
So it poses some interesting questions about how these early space pioneers were treated, although it seems that much was learned from these tests.
When you take off, you're sitting on top of a barely controlled explosion. If I was sitting there, I'm sure I'd find it an odd mix of both exhilaration and probably at least some fear, but I wouldn't be terrified because i'd know what was happening and I think the excitement would dominate the fear. But if I was a chimp and I didn't really know what was going on, I'd probably be completely terrified, which is apparently what happened:


he experienced some crushing forces on take-off and re-entry and weightlessness for more than six minutes. But apart from his evident terror, he seemed unharmed.
Can you imagine the crushing forces, rumbling noise and vibrations on take off while the poor chimp has no idea what's happening? I can understand the "evident terror" part!

I have to wonder, now that we can communicate on a primitive level with some primates, if we'd be able to tell a chimp what was going on. I suspect it would be difficult even today since a ride on a rocket is so far outside normal experience. What can you compare it to when you describe it?



posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 07:08 PM
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they trained thous chimps in slimators for just the reason that they wouldn't freak out.
if they had just took one and put him in and light the rocket he would have probably died from the panic alone/
like i said NASA didn't want stressed or freaked out chimps in a pod and took EVERY measure they could to
be sure the chimps could deal with the flight.
as for laika yea thats the thing i was saying THERE was NO way back for her so she was going to die and the Russians know that when they put her up.
the chimps well they got the best NASA could provide .



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 08:55 AM
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Originally posted by xxcalbier
they trained thous chimps in slimators for just the reason that they wouldn't freak out.
I've seen a bunch of simulators that can simulate a bunch of things, but how do you simulate the effect of a rocket burning underneath your behind long enough to put you in orbit?

I don't know how a simulator can sustain that many g's long enough to simulate a launch into orbit?



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 10:03 AM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


You can simulate the g-forces of liftoff fairly easily with a centrifuge. It won't simulate the vibration of launch, but it will simulate the g-force. Indeed, the book "Fundamentals of Space Medicine" explains that chimpanzees can tolerate roughly twice as many horizontal g's (the kind of g-forces experienced at liftoff and re-entry) as a human. For brief duration forces a human can withstand up to 21-35 g's whereas a chimpanzee can withstand up to 40-80 g's for an even longer period of time (page 151). Physiologically, chimps are quite powerful for their size.
edit on 1-2-2011 by ngchunter because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 10:30 AM
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reply to post by ngchunter
 

Thanks for the explanation but something still isn't adding up. If he was that well trained in a simulator, then why was he so terrified?


he experienced some crushing forces on take-off and re-entry and weightlessness for more than six minutes. But apart from his evident terror, he seemed unharmed.


Do you think it was because of the noise and the vibration which the simulator didn't duplicate?



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 10:57 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur
Do you think it was because of the noise and the vibration which the simulator didn't duplicate?

Almost certainly. I haven't been to space myself, but I have been in "Mission: Space"'s centrifuge and above all the experience feels incredibly "smooth." In fact I've never felt an acceleration that felt that smooth before. I don't know how the aero medical centrifuge compares, but it's probably a very similar experience. You can certainly simulate that kind of vibration with a separate device, but the one thing you can't simulate on earth though is the zero-g for that long of a period of time. 30 seconds is the max you can get out of a vomet comet, but he was weightless for several minutes and was the first primate ever to experience sustained microgravity for that long. That was one of the key reasons for the test, to see if it was safe for primates. Alternating from high g to no g back to high g all within 15 minutes or so was probably disconcerting to say the least.
edit on 1-2-2011 by ngchunter because: (no reason given)



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