In November of 1957, Russia launched a rocket into space carrying a stray picked up from the streets of Moscow. Laika was sent into space with no hope or way of returning to Earth. She was sent to die, in space, alone. We know that her heart rate reached rates over twice as high as measured before launch, we know that it took three times longer for her to calm down than it had during testing and preparation.
Laika was launched into space, to die so that the space community could test if humans could survive orbit outside of the atmosphere.
For at least five hours, Laika was floating in Sputnik 2. She was alone and overheating due to insulation failure. We never wanted her to come back, we knew what would happen to her, what she would go through and we accepted that reality.
Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it… We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog. ~ Oleg Gazenko
The reality that we resign ourselves, and others, to; a destiny that may prove fatal, because we would rather fail on our terms than those of another. We would rather launch a piece of our humanity into space knowing we will never get it back, than wait until we can better understand ourselves and our limits.
How many times do we continue a course that we have charted because we would rather commit to a fatal destiny than take the chance that we can reach into heaven and safely land back on Earth? How many times have you allowed yourself to suffer, as Laika suffered, never knowing or considering an alternative, never thinking that you could change course and escape the fate that you have written for yourself?
Would you cry for Laika? Would you cry for yourself, shot into orbit with no way to return? Or would you be there in space, weightless and alone, crying for the safety of something solid?