Will Dogs Go to Mars?

Friday, March 29, 2019 09:07:42 AM America/Los_Angeles

Does the idea of dogs in space sound crazy? It shouldn’t. Many dogs have already gone to space starting with the Russian space program. Before the Russians sent the first human cosmonaut into space, they sent dogs into space for testing purposes.

In 1957, they sent a dog named Laika. She became famous for being the first creature to orbit the Earth. Laika was a stray dog that scientists found on the streets in Moscow. She gave her life to advance the technology that made it safer for humans to go into space. She survived the launch; however, she died on the fourth orbit because of the overheating of the capsule. This helped scientists to learn what was needed to be able to send a person into space and more importantly how to bring them back safely.

Laika was immortalized with a postage stamp in 1959. A monument to Laika was erected at the facility that prepared Laika’s space flight. She is also part of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space in Moscow.


To the Moon and Beyond

The space race between the Soviet Union and the United States resulted in Americans landing on the Moon. That was a major historical moment that occurred when JFK was president. Since then, after six successful manned Moon landings, NASA switched its focus to sending robots instead of humans.

Colonization of Mars

After so many years, NASA is back to thinking about sending humans again. This time the intent is to colonize Mars. It is doable but of course challenging. It is getting exciting because of the public/private partnerships between NASA and companies like Elon Musk’s Space X.

To colonize Mars is the dream because it would be the first big step for humans who want to explore the rest of the universe. Also, Mars is a planet that we could terraform into a likeness of Earth. We may desperately need to do this in light of climate change and the potential destruction of the biosphere on Earth.

What Do We Take to Mars?

Mars is desolate. The temperatures are extreme. There is no breathable atmosphere and little water on the surface except for ice at the Mars polar caps. We have to take everything with us that we need or be able to make it once we arrive.

The trip to Mars takes a long time of about seven months. That is longer than the average time that astronauts stay on the International Space Station. It is really expensive to By Asetta via Shutterstock

get to Mars, so we would want to stay for a long time of at least a few years. Perhaps, those who go will never come back.

All the necessities for life must be taken along. What about things for relaxation and recreation? Certainly, without some time off, the first settlers would probably go nuts if all they do is work all the time.

What about loneliness? Fraternization among the crew that leads to romantic involvement should probably be discouraged. Imagine what it would be like if jealousy overtakes the crew members. Yet, how will they feel living for such a long time without a close companion? What about taking along dogs?

Dogs on Mars

It may be a good idea to take dogs along. Having a dog in a spacesuit for the trip is not practical. However, this problem is solvable because dogs can be put into a state of suspended animation for the trip to Mars. Then, the dog can be revived when in the living habitat on Mars is established.

There are certain logistic needs that a dog would have, such as dog food provisions and the need for a dog bathroom. Certainly, there is not going to be a way to take the dog outside on the Mars surface for a daily walk. The dog would need a facility to use that is built like the ones on Earth, which serve as an indoor potty for dogs. The dogs would need something similar real grass to use as a dog potty. 

Every Dog Has Its Day

It may sound silly to want to take dogs along with us to colonize Mars; however, it is not a bad idea. One of the psychological factors that concern scientists about Mars colonization is the emotional toll on the personnel from being homesick and longing for the Earth. Having a dog as a companion may make being away from Earth more tolerable.

We are sure that there are plenty of dogs who would like to go along. They just want to be with us. That is why they earned the respect of being called humans’ best friends. To go to another planet without them seems too sad, especially if Earth become uninhabitable at some point in the future.

If dogs get to go, then we know that Laika will be smiling about it in dog heaven. She would be responsible for the survival of her species as well. If humans take dogs along with them to Mars that could bring a new meaning to the name, “Mars Rover.”