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.
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.
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?
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/
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. I am firmly convinced I would rather have my furry friends with me up there rather than Hal nagging me all the time!
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.
Quote from: Mondagun on 10/02/2023 06:49 pmHowever 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.
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.
Quote from: Barley on 10/04/2023 04:15 pmThe 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).
That carpet idea sounds pretty interesting though, wonder how quick cats would adapt to such unfamiliar environment