Senryu : orbiting orangutans

4+

space, final frontier
orbiting orangutans?
micro water bears

senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere

Orangutans in space?  I couldn’t find any but was reading about the early monkeys in space.  It was pretty sad — if the rocket didn’t explode during take-off or shortly thereafter, then the parachute failed or the rescue team took too long to get to the capsule and the animals died from stress due to the heat.  From 1949 to 1959 in the United States, monkeys named Albert I – IV, Gordo and Able all perished in the early space launches.  Miss Baker who flew with Able in 1959 was the first to survive to a grand old age, passing away in 1984.

Monkeys continue to be used in rocket launches as other countries test their space program.  In 2001, China packed a monkey, a dog and a rabbit aboard a spacecraft.  Unfortunately they did not survive the landing due to a parachute malfunction.   In 2013, Iran successfully sent and retrieved rhesus monkeys Aftab and Fargam from seperate launches.  Scienties continue to monitor the offspring to see if there are any repercussions from their space jaunt.

These days they have another candidate to for intergalactic colonization. Turns out they think Water Bears can survive in space.  Never heard of a water bear aka moss piglet? Me neither.  They are microanimals called Tardigrades.  Apparently they can naturally go into suspended animation if they need to when a climate is too harsh.  Very cool.

References:

Monkeys and Apes in Space
Wikipedia

Tardigrade
Wikipedia

orbiting orangutans
april prompts
putting my feet in the dirt