Sam the Dog is the first dog to visit space since the canine cosmonauts of the Soviet Union.
But you might have noticed that Sam’s not a real dog. If you’re disappointed, don’t be. Outer space tends to be very hostile to living things, so I’m glad that none of the school kids who launched this stuffed animal into space were inclined to use their actual dog.
Students from Morecambe Bay Primary School released a powerful helium balloon for a school science project, and along with it they released Sam, their school mascot.
Why is this so incredibly cool? This “dog piloted” space launch is a clear homage to humankind’s very first Earthling in space: the Russian stray Laika.
Yes, that’s right. The first Earthling in space was a dog. Many know the story of Laika, for better and worse, but how many humans realize that one of their most daring pioneers wasn’t even human in the first place!
So high paws to these kids for commemorating Laika’s contribution to our exploration of the universe that gave us great things like dogs!