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poor gerbils :-(

Russia blasts gerbils into space
The Russian space agency has blasted ten gerbils into space for a 12-day mission to test the possible effects on humans of a flight to Mars.
The small mammals, similar to mice and rats, are being kept in special cages with a supply of nuts and cereals.

Day and night will be simulated and special machines will clean their excrement in the weightless conditions.

The gerbils may find space preferable to returning to Earth - several are to be dissected upon their return.

The furry rodents lifted off from the Russian-run Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan on Friday in a Soyuz rocket.

Gerbils are probably more suited than most rodents for space flight because they conserve body fluids by producing a minimum of waste.

The 10 are all sand rodents, praised as "a very interesting object for research" because they "can live for more than a month without using liquids," said Anatoly Grogoryev of the Russian Academy of Science.

"This will enable scientists to determine salt exchange mechanisms in zero gravity conditions."

Gerbils, as many pet owners have discovered, are gregarious and active in daylight, which makes them easy to observe.

The ten gerbils will be filmed during their space flight.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/6996671.stm

Published: 2007/09/15 15:19:52 GMT

© BBC MMVII

    :'(   

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hum, because people and gerbils are, ya know, totally the same.  :(

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The Russians are fairly routine with this. They were the first to send a dog to space (he survived, became quite popular). I think they (or maybe it was Americans) sent a monkey to space too.

So, gerbils are actually a down grade for them.  :(

Still, if they want to send something live - how about a plant? Or ... well, I won't mention the other alternative as no one ever likes my ideas of using certain elements of society, lol.

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ass holes.

i have 2 gerbils, so this hurts.  >:(

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The Russians are fairly routine with this. They were the first to send a dog to space (he survived, became quite popular). I think they (or maybe it was Americans) sent a monkey to space too.

Wasn't the first dog Laika? She died in space... I know she became famous, and I remember reading a sad poem about her a couple years ago. Here's a link...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laika

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Oooops. For some reason, I thought the dog survived. My mistake.

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The gerbils being sent into space is very depressing. :'( As is the dog, Laika! So sad! WTF is the point of the gerbils, anyway?! Seems like a waste of resources... Not to mention lives. >:(

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I guess having astronauts spend months and months at a time up in the International Space Station (which I perfer to call...Skylab II), doesn't show them what the "long term effects" of space are on a human body.  :o  Perhaps they should dissect a few cosmonauts when they return from their next mission instead.  :D

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For those of us who are old enough to remember Laika:

Hey diddle diddle,
The physicists fiddle,
The bleep jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And died the following June.

I learned this at school during the days of the "space race." And that was before digital watches and pocket calculators.

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Hey, come on be fair y'all, sure it sounds silly but what ELSE is Russia gonna use all that money for besides shooting gerbils into space?  It's not like they have any other problems left.

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Hey, come on be fair y'all, sure it sounds silly but what ELSE is Russia gonna use all that money for besides shooting gerbils into space?  It's not like they have any other problems left.

;D Yeah, good point... I suppose with all that extra money, they might as well us it on something like this!

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The Russians are fairly routine with this.

the americans are fairly routine with this too.  we've always put our share of animals in space for "research", but i think the colombia crash sort of refocused our efforts. 
what i don't understand is the seemingly abstract nature of all these experiments.  this one is aimed at determining " salt exchange mechanisms in zero gravity conditions".  ?  i don't even know what that means, but it seems like it would rank fairly low on my space- survival checklist, given the obvious lack of oxygen/ water resources.  what are they planning for, exactly? 
makes me think of douglas adam's hitchhiker's guide books, where the mice were the superior beings and, as it turns out, subliminally controlling us to conduct all these experiments in order to further their research.  weird that i would be relieved if that turned out to be true. 

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I am so impressed from it ..........Apartments for Rent in Tucson

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damn those scientist , why don't they put there own children . poor gerbils  :'(

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I've always thought the use of other animals in gathering research data was silly in terms of relevance to humans. We know that after drug trials on animals the FDA requires testing on human subjects, simply because we know the animal results don't tell us everything. That would work in reverse too - I wonder how many potentially great drugs have been thrown out because they killed too many animals.

Don't even get me started on the LD50 - as if there's any help in knowing how much of a substance might kill a human. Emergency nurses and doctors are going to try to save someone no matter if they've surpassed the LD50 level or not. In all practicality LD50 is worthless information.

I was pleased to see someone (WHO) actually understand this idea recently -

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026172019.htm
  (article from Science Daily regarding rats and humans)

And why didn't they just ask me to go up in space?!? I would have been all for it, minus the dissection.  :-\ 

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I agree with you 100% TFYOV.  I never understood the whole experimenting on animals thing.  What is the point?  Animals react to things differently then humans so why bother?  If they want to test a new drug, why don't they test on humans.  Say for instance they came up with a new drug for alzeimers, they could put out a notice to the families of people who have the diesease, and I am sure somebody would respond, and then start out in very very tiny doses and gradually increase the dose until some effect is seen. 

I never really understood why humans feel that we are all important and animals are a lower life form?  Where did this belief come from in the first place?  How did our race get such a large ego? 

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Small animals have much shorter life cycles than humans, so you can show the effects of a drug over many lifetimes and many generations, whereas doing that in humans takes so long the drug is already outdated by the time it's released... or you end up with thalidomide babies. Honestly, it's less to do with ethics and more to do with pragmatism.

Scientists do tend to use animals who have some kind of relevant physiology - it's why guinea pigs are so commonly used; they don't synthesize vitamin C, while (other than other cavies and primates) most other animals do.

It's not as simple as 'use humans' because a lot of tests that are carried out do require seeing the effects through to death, and if you're doing it right, that means a full natural lifespan. And there are also a lot of tests that would be considered highly unsafe and unethical to carry out on humans, and though it's no more safe or ethical to carry them out on animals, it is legal and those experiments are necessary to be able to make any progress in research. We haven't come up with a fully-functional-down-to-the-organelles digital model of a human body yet; we can't just use calculations to see exactly what a newly isolated compound will do.

On the other hand, if you're testing hair dye and lipstick, we have celebrities for that. Lipstick on a pig should only ever refer to Sarah Palin.

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On the other hand, if you're testing hair dye and lipstick, we have celebrities for that. Lipstick on a pig should only ever refer to Sarah Palin.

Love this!

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