Field of Science

Laika: a comics about a hero

Laika was the first living being to go in space. Its adventure was written by Rick Abadzis in a beautiful graphic novel, that I read two years ago.
The story began with Sputnik 1, the first russian space mission launched in space on October 4, 1957, in order to send a signal to Earth. The next mission, Sputnik 2, launched on November 3, 1957 with the first living thing on board, a dog, Laika. This second mission, however, arose under pressure from the government, which would celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the October revolution with a new, great success of the spatial plan of the Soviet Union. So the mission was prepared in haste, designing a less sophisticated satellite than Sputnik 1 that was not expected it would be back on the planet: a death sentence beyond a reasonable doubt for his passenger. Laika's death, however, was very early: the mission was designed to last a week or less, but the dog died long before, in 5-7 hours:
The fact, that pressure in the cabin was not reduced, proved its reliable tightness. It was very important, as the satellite passed through areas of meteoric flows. Normalization of parameters of breath and blood circulation of Layka during orbital flight has allowed to make a conclusion, that the long weightlessness does not cause essential changes in a status of animal organisms. During flight the gradual increase of temperature and humidity in the cabin was registered via telemetric channels. Approximately in 5 - 7 hours of flight there was a failure of telemetry system. It was not possible to detect a status of the dog since the fourth circuit. During the ground simulation of this flight's conditions, the conclusion was made, that Layka should be lost because of overheating on 3d or 4-th circuit of flight.(1)
So, the hypothesis of silence imposed from above on the health conditions of Laika, or more than anything else on the impossibility to monitor them, told by Abadzis are not so far-fetched: we must consider, in fact, that the animal (in the government vision) would had to stay alive in time to celebrate the forty years of the October Revolution!
And the British cartoonist tells not only the historical background of Laika's story, but also the simple story of a dog that goes in space from the street and the story of the people who shared their life and love with the little dog.
A graphic novel, made with the classic bd style, that you can not miss in your collection.
(1) Dmitrij Malashenkov, Some Unknown Pages of the Living Organisms' First Orbital Flight

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