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8 animals that have traveled in space

Rodents of Spacelab 3

Photo: NASA

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Rodents of Spacelab 3

Spacelab 3 was a reusable laboratory that flew aboard some space shuttle flights. Pictured here in 1985 is the rodent animal holding facility aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

According to NASA, the labs were used to “observe the animals to obtain firsthand knowledge of the effects of launch and reentry stresses and behavior.” They also included the study of “rabbits, turtles, insects, spiders, fish, jellyfish, amoebae and algae” in space. Here an astronaut cares for a rodent in a specially designed and independently controlled holding unit.