In Huntsville, Ala., there is an unusual grave site where, instead of flowers, people sometimes leave bananas.
OUR ORIGINAL ASTRONAUTS
One day when I was looking for a photograph of a squirrel monkey to post on The Cat’s Meow, I found one on Wikipedia along with a photograph of Miss Baker, one of our earliest astronauts. I hadn’t thought about our monkey astronauts in years, but I do remember reading about them as a youngster and feeling angry that they were used without having a choice in the matter. Miss Baker (an eleven-ounce Peruvian-born squirrel monkey) and her companion, Able (a seven-pound American-born rhesus), were the first to come back alive. Miss Baker lived to be twenty-seven and died of kidney failure. Able died four days after the landing. She developed an infection after having an electrode removed. Able is preserved and on display at the Smithsonian‘s National Air and Space Museum. I find this disturbing. Am I the only one?
The U.S. wasn’t the only country to shoot animals into space. Russia and France did. The Russians and the Americans sent up mice as well as monkeys.
A sweet little squirrel monkey
enjoying the relative freedom of the Fuji Safari Park in Japan.
© 2011, 2012 Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Video uploaded to YouTube by iafastro.
Photo credits ~ Grave stone by Ms. Miserable via Find a Grave. The photo of Able on her couch in display at the National Air and Space Museum is by RadioFan (talk) under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License via Wikipedia. The monkey in Fuji Safari Park is in the public domain and via Wikipedia. Ms. Baker’s photo is in the public domain and via the U.S. Federal Governent.