David Wilson, director of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, visited Art Center on Monday to talk about the early days of the Russian space program.
Wilson was the final Big Picture Lecture Series speaker of the term. We knew right away that this talk was going to be an interesting one.
No talk of early Soviet space exploration is complete without a discussion of the Russian space dogs. As many know, Laika was the first earth born creature to leave the atmosphere.
We were amused and intrigued as Wilson taught us more about Russian space dogs. Did you know:
- All were female.
- All were formerly strays.
- They went through extensive space training.
- Nine dogs made it into orbit; sadly three of them died during their missions.
- Strelka, who went into orbit with Belka, went on to have six puppies after her safe return to Earth. Nikita Krushchev gave one of the puppies to Caroline Kennedy in 1961.
- Belka and Strelka are stuffed (!) and on display at the Cosmonaut Memorial Museum in Moscow.
Wilson also screened two portions of a film depicting the lives of early influencers of the Soviet space program. Obshee-Delo (translated means The Common Task) told the stories of Nicolai Federov, who was an impoverished yet influential philosopher-librarian, and Constatine Tsiolkovski, who imagined the future of space travel.