September 6th, 2011


Birds in Space

Well, this is hardly natural; therefore this is more of a wtf_science, but I do not know wtf happened to wtf_science. Anyway, I am pleased to announce that there have been feathered cosmonauts and avian embryo astronauts!

This is footage of Commander Anatoly Solovyov, first ever cosmo-aviculturist, with a fluffy
feathered cosmonaut. Quails were the first vertebrates hatched into space.

The unbearable lightness of being a quail on Mir was investigated by Slovakian and Russian/Soviet scientists as a potential sustainable food source in space. NASA also participated in studies of embryogenesis first in chickens, in a project sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken, and later as colloaborators in the ongoing quails in space effort. While microgravity proved not to be essential to embryological development, the mortality and deformity rates were high. Furthermore, the chicks could not adapt to the microgravity environmen, and the chicks could not stabilize their position relative to feeders. The species that is usually precocial on Earth was rendered altricial by weightlessness on Mir, and the hatchlings were dependent upon handfeeding by the crew.