Author Topic: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space  (Read 7802 times)

Offline dunwich

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Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« on: 05/20/2023 07:06 am »
Given early exploration vessels usually had some sort of pet on board was it ever considered to have a pet on the ISS?
Now having a cat or a dog as a permanent guest wouldn't have worked but something like hamster or even a guinea pig?

They take little volume and allow the study of the full lifecycle of a mammal. They where often involved in ships of exploration and where regarded fondly by the public in general.

Would it have taken to much space, to much care, in the way most of the time. Or would it have died horribly? Given that the first movie in space involved surgery in 0G. Having a medical issue with it sounds sort of okay.

What are some other reasons it would have been a bad idea?


Offline eric z

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #1 on: 05/22/2023 01:42 pm »
 This is a fascinating subject, since i have had 21 cats in 49 years of marriage. [ Plus a dog!] The obvious issue is kitty-litter and weightlessness don't go together too well! ::)
 Once we get situated on the Moon or Mars the solutions should be much easier to deal with. ;D
 I am firmly convinced I would rather have my furry friends with me up there rather than Hal nagging me all the time!

Offline JAFO

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #2 on: 05/23/2023 01:46 am »
Like this?


"This is an older painting that I reworked in 2017.  The idea behind it was that cats are cats, no matter where they are.   So when we set out for the stars, we will no doubt take our pets, and cats being cats, if there are windows, there will be cats sitting in those windows.
-Keith Spangle
https://fineartamerica.com/featured/ships-cat-revised-keith-spangle.html
« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 01:47 am by JAFO »
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Online Jeff Lerner

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #3 on: 05/23/2023 02:17 am »

Offline DaveS

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #4 on: 05/23/2023 02:52 am »
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline SweetWater

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #5 on: 05/23/2023 02:55 am »
The ISS has hosted many animals as experimental subjects; I imagine that the attitude of astronauts towards these animals is similar to researchers using animal test subjects on Earth, and that they are respectful but detached as much as possible. Many of these animals are insects, which don't really lend themselves to being kept as pets, and for the astronauts there is probably no real opportunity to handle or 'play' with the experimental subjects like sailors might with a mascot or pet.

The largest animals I know of which have been to the ISS are mice, which are housed in the Rodent Research Hardware System https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodent_Research_Hardware_System.
Both NASA's page https://www.nasa.gov/ames/research/space-biosciences/rodent-research-hardware and Wikipedia seem like they could use some updating but there seem to have been at least 11 experiments flown with this system to date, with as many as 40 mice being flown at one time and many - but not all - being returned to Earth alive after the experiments were completed.

The Centrifuge Accommodation Module (CAM) https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/cam.htm for the ISS - had it ever been completed and launched - would have included a centrifuge to simulate rotational gravity environments for animals up to the size of mice and rats, and would have presumably allowed for long-term and possibly multi-generational (at least in rodent terms) studies of animals at fractional gravities.

While it probably would not have been a great fit for the ISS in the long run - even with vibration from the centrifuge dampened, it would have been an issue for microgravity experiments - I consider the CAM being canceled to be a serious missed opportunity for the ISS program and would love to see something similar in the future, perhaps on one of the commercial space stations or free-fliers that are being proposed for the 2030s.


Offline JAFO

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #6 on: 05/23/2023 05:52 am »
Challenger's 51-B flight had an experiment with 2 monkeys, I think Mike Mullane talked about the problems about it in his book Riding Rockets.

Until then:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1985/05/04/monkey-business-on-the-space-shuttle/ebb5a484-7836-4b40-bdcc-496c161430aa/
« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 07:31 pm by JAFO »
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Offline Kyra's kosmos

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #7 on: 07/04/2023 04:38 am »
I was thinking about this the other day. It would seem the "Golden Age" of non-human mammals in space is over. I could see a wealthy tourist perhaps bringing a pet on a suborbital flight, the occasional mice in experiments with a book full of health, safety and ethical rules. I don't think the situation will change unless something radical occured like finding a way to get the cost of sending payload to orbit to being less than 10% what it is now so a bunch of provisions could be flown to support a pet in artificial gravity.

With cats, they will not be space regulars until there is the equivalent of Star Trek technology. Beyond the litterbox, can you imagine the clouds of cat hair in zero-G? Marking behavior? The risks from clawing in a panic incident when they discover you can't just walk to the wall?  They may be the least well adapted mammal species for space travel. I don't know that dogs would be much better (The Soviet Space dogs were effectively bungeed into place and plugged into their own waste recepticles).

Until then I would suggest insects and spiders in little plexiglass cube homes.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #8 on: 07/05/2023 02:25 am »


While it probably would not have been a great fit for the ISS in the long run - even with vibration from the centrifuge dampened, it would have been an issue for microgravity experiments - I consider the CAM being canceled to be a serious missed opportunity for the ISS program and would love to see something similar in the future, perhaps on one of the commercial space stations or free-fliers that are being proposed for the 2030s.

Kibo has centrifuges on board and has been used for mice under 1G and 1/6 G https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-023-04769-3 - hopefully Mars gravity studies will follow

The  MVP-Fly-01 centrifuge is onboard the US segment and is used with fruit flies  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211124722010993



Apologies in advance for any lack of civility - it's unintended

Online AmigaClone

Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #9 on: 07/05/2023 07:22 am »
I was thinking about this the other day. It would seem the "Golden Age" of non-human mammals in space is over. I could see a wealthy tourist perhaps bringing a pet on a suborbital flight, the occasional mice in experiments with a book full of health, safety and ethical rules. I don't think the situation will change unless something radical occured like finding a way to get the cost of sending payload to orbit to being less than 10% what it is now so a bunch of provisions could be flown to support a pet in artificial gravity.

Personally, I would argue that the true "Golden Age" of "non-human mammals in space" is yet to arrive. Granted, for me that age would involve humans taking "non-human mammals" with them for companionship - not just as subjects for experiments.

Quote
With cats, they will not be space regulars until there is the equivalent of Star Trek technology. Beyond the litterbox, can you imagine the clouds of cat hair in zero-G? Marking behavior? The risks from clawing in a panic incident when they discover you can't just walk to the wall?  They may be the least well adapted mammal species for space travel. I don't know that dogs would be much better (The Soviet Space dogs were effectively bungeed into place and plugged into their own waste recepticles).

Not necessarily Star Trek Technology, since there are two options that could be made with today's or near future technology that would provide a good environment for cats and dogs.

One is within a base located on or under the surface of a planet, dwarf planet, or large moon with gravity between 1.25x and 1/10th of Earth's.

The second would involve large rotating space stations.

Quote
Until then I would suggest insects and spiders in little plexiglass cube homes.

Offline jasonjulius1122

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #10 on: 07/10/2023 09:46 am »
Given early exploration vessels usually had some sort of pet on board was it ever considered to have a pet on the ISS?
Now having a cat or a dog as a permanent guest wouldn't have worked but something like hamster or even a guinea pig?

They take little volume and allow the study of the full lifecycle of a mammal. They where often involved in ships of exploration and where regarded fondly by the public in general.

Would it have taken to much space, to much care, in the way most of the time. Or would it have died horribly? Given that the first movie in space involved surgery in 0G. Having a medical issue with it sounds sort of okay.

What are some other reasons it would have been a bad idea?
Having a pet on the International Space Station (ISS) posed challenges due to space constraints, care requirements, and potential health risks. Maintaining their well-being in microgravity, providing appropriate nutrition and waste management, and ensuring crew safety would have been difficult. Logistically, it was not considered practical or feasible, with the focus remaining on scientific research and astronaut well-being.

Offline Hog

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #11 on: 07/13/2023 09:37 pm »
Challenger's 51-B flight had an experiment with 2 monkeys, I think Mike Mullane talked about the problems about it in his book Riding Rockets.

Until then:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1985/05/04/monkey-business-on-the-space-shuttle/ebb5a484-7836-4b40-bdcc-496c161430aa/
I haven't clicked your links yet, but I remember monkeys on a SpaceLAB STS-51B.  The issue with feces or "monkey manure" wafting about the spacecraft.   Breathing that in would surely give you a nasty case of "poo breath" at best. 
Paul

Offline Xernes

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #12 on: 10/02/2023 05:11 pm »
This is a fascinating subject, since i have had 21 cats in 49 years of marriage. [ Plus a dog!] The obvious issue is kitty-litter and weightlessness don't go together too well! ::)
 Once we get situated on the Moon or Mars the solutions should be much easier to deal with. ;D
 I am firmly convinced I would rather have my furry friends with me up there rather than Hal nagging me all the time!

Don't forget about the fur either! That fur was everywhere in my house. Either you have to regularly groom them or shave them  ;D

Offline eric z

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #13 on: 10/02/2023 05:24 pm »
 My wife and I have had 21 cats over 49 years together, and 7 are with us now. Keeping everything under control is a full-time occupation! :D

Offline Mondagun

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #14 on: 10/02/2023 06:49 pm »
Thus far space travel hasn't really been kind to animals, because they were always part of scientific experiments. Sure, they were treated well enough for the duration of the experiment. But upon completion of the experiment (usually when landing back on Earth) the animals were often immediately euthanized so that they could be dissected for scientific study. Not even Félicette the cat (argubly one of the cutest and cuddliest animals to have flown into space) was able to escape this fate.

However if spaceflight capabilties keep advancing I do think that eventually there'll be a point where animals start being brought into space as companions instead of pure scientific experiments. But we'll probably have to start small, like a little aquarium with fishes for example.
« Last Edit: 10/02/2023 09:37 pm by Mondagun »

Offline Barley

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #15 on: 10/02/2023 08:12 pm »
However if spaceflight capabilties keep advancing I do think that eventually there'll a point where animals start being brought into space as companions instead of pure scientific experiments.
Or somebody gets attached to one of the lab animals.

Offline Mondagun

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #16 on: 10/02/2023 09:33 pm »
However if spaceflight capabilties keep advancing I do think that eventually there'll a point where animals start being brought into space as companions instead of pure scientific experiments.
Or somebody gets attached to one of the lab animals.
Occupational hazard I guess! As an astronaut you're going to have a tough time though if you get attached to the research animals. Especially if you are on the ISS when one of NASA's "Rodent Research" experiment series is present: for these experiments astronauts sometimes have to personally euthanize and dissect mice while on-orbit.

https://science.nasa.gov/mission/rodent-research

Offline Mondagun

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #17 on: 10/04/2023 02:50 am »
I think that it would be best to wait until we have rotating space stations with artificial gravity before we start bringing pet cats or dogs into space. Just watch this video of weightless cats on a parabolic aircraft flight:



I don't know what's going through the mind of these cats, but it doesn't seem like weightlessness agrees with them very much!

Offline Barley

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #18 on: 10/04/2023 04:15 pm »
I think that it would be best to wait until we have rotating space stations with artificial gravity before we start bringing pet cats or dogs into space. Just watch this video of weightless cats on a parabolic aircraft flight:



I don't know what's going through the mind of these cats, but it doesn't seem like weightlessness agrees with them very much!

The cats get no briefing, only a few minutes of practice and are continually being batted about by the handlers.  I'd like to see how humans fair under the same circumstances.  Particularly the humans that planned that activity.
The results may, or may not, be very different if you give cats a few days to settle in, they are able to learn.

Offline Mondagun

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Re: Mascot (pets) on the ISS/space
« Reply #19 on: 10/04/2023 09:43 pm »
The cats get no briefing, only a few minutes of practice and are continually being batted about by the handlers.  I'd like to see how humans fair under the same circumstances.  Particularly the humans that planned that activity.
The results may, or may not, be very different if you give cats a few days to settle in, they are able to learn.
You do raise a good point. Results may indeed be different after a few days of acclimatation. Come to think of it, if you would put some carpet strips on the floor/walls of your space station (i.e. some surfaces that cats can grip with their claws), then perhaps the cats might even figure out how to walk relatively normally in zero-g.

And yes, the treatment of those cats in the parabolic flight video, while not inflicting permanent harm, was not exactly friendly. Like you said, the handlers were purposely batting the cats around. The video is all the way back from 1947, something of a different era as far as ethics is concerned. Can you imagine NASA repeating this experiment today with the same rough handling and the video being shown on the evening news? There would be instant social media campaigns condemning NASA (something like #MyCatSaysBoycotNASA).
« Last Edit: 10/04/2023 11:30 pm by Mondagun »

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