Laika: The First Space Hero, We Aren’t Celebrating 60 Years Of Sputnik

By: Nupur Sharma

Image source: Google

Laika, the first ever living being to travel out of the planet. A dog from the streets of Moscow who was sent to the space. Chosen, only because animals can’t take their stand, can’t speak for themselves, because they can’t talk like human and most importantly it didn’t matter to the people who chose Laika. It all started with the mission Sputnik-2, there were three dogs in the beginning of the story, chosen for the test and provided with essential training. The other two dogs were chosen for secondary purpose and Laika was finalised for the mission. Which rest of news articles quotes as “Laika sacrificed its life”
Before the dogs were finalised, all these three dogs were trained strictly to survive in the utmost extreme environment. Under the training, these dogs were kept in confined cabin of sputnik-2, they were kept in smaller cage consecutively for 20 days. As they could not move for all these days in the training period, it caused them problem in urinating and stool outflow. They were also tested for bearing acceleration of rocket and were kept in centrifuges for the same. They were also sent into few machines, to assess their capability for tolerance of noise.

Before the launch of sputnik-2, Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky, one of the scientists from the training programme of sputnik, took Laika to his home for his children to play with. He stated “Laika was quiet and charming. I wanted to do something nice for her: she had so little time left to live.”
The above statement proved that the scientists were aware about the danger to it’s life, still continued the training.
One of the technicians preparing the capsule before final liftoff stated that “after placing Laika in the container and before closing the hatch, we kissed her nose and wished her bon voyage, knowing that she would not survive the flight.”
Not even enough information was gained from the mission which would equalise the death of the dog. Was anyone concerned for Laika’s consent? Nowadays there are several organisation fighting for rights of these animals.
The point is, who are we as humans to decide or take decisions for someone else’s life, just because the poor animals can’t speak. What is that gives human supremacy, Despite of the fact that Liaka won’t be able to get through the space travel. 4 days before the launch, Laika had to go through a few tests and body modifications, artificial adaptations in order to make it possible. None of the pictures of Liaka present on internet is a happy picture.

After so much struggle and hard-work of few people, now government banned use of animal in any sort of scientific lab. This is the reason we decided not to do this story on the completion of 60 years of Sputnik’s spaceflight, but to do the story on “Unheard Laika’.

We also spoke to “Sanchi Budhiraja’ the Co-Founder of 4dogsake India, an organisation based at New Delhi. She says,”To take away free will of a living being is the worst thing you can do. Experimenting on animals no longer raises issues, since it’s something people have accepted largely because there is no consent involved. Because it’s that much easier to strip these poor souls of their free will and put it in the “for the greater good” box. Would you do it to a man? Just because you do not understand their language, it makes it so much easier for you to inflict pain and have your way. If you’re still telling me that Laika was about to die because it was an act of “bravery” and “sacrifice”, it’s a load of bull. I doubt she would have chosen dying in the outer space after being subjected to harsh treatment (that was meted out in order to prepare her for the journey), over dying in the comfort of her home, next to someone she knew and loved.”

What do you think?

Written by Sharad Maverick

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