Many animals have been to space, but do you know what the first fish to outer space was? Chances are you've held one in your hand! Read on to learn more.
Space travel is dangerous and, when we were figuring it out back in the 1950's and 60's, it was decided that using animals was probably a good first step.
Over the years, the United States and Russia launched monkeys, dogs and even mice into low Earth orbit.
Now, we eventually figured out how to get humans there and back without a hitch, but that didn't mean that animals stopped playing a role as space pioneers.
Today, we still send animals and insects to space for experiments in order learn more about the effects of zero gravity on organisms.
For example, zero G is tough on the human body, causing us to lose our muscle mass and bone density.
We're simply not made for space, and it's typical for astronauts to require walking assistance upon their return.
So studying animals in that same environment helps us learn more, and fish aren't excluded from that category!
What was the first fish in outer space?
So what really was the first fish in outer space?
Well, here's your answer:
An inshore angler's favorite live baitfish, the cocahoe!
Well, sort of...
Okay, the exact species of fish we affectionately call "cocahoes" did not go to space, at least not to my knowledge.
The fish in question is the Japanese medaka, which isn't the same exact fish as our cocahoe, but still nearly the same.
This is because they are both brackish water fish that are really, really tough.
In fact, medaka fish are kept as pets because they are so easy to maintain, so they were pretty much a perfect fit for outer space, though I think our cocahoe would be a better candidate.
I could be biased!
What are they used for?
We use cocahoes to catch anything from flounder to redfish to speckled trout, but the medaka fish were used to study bone deterioration in low gravity.
I'm not an astronaut or a biologist, I'm just some guy who likes to go fishing.
But, from what I understand, the medaka fish are transparent, making it easy to study their bones, and they reproduce quickly, allowing scientists to see how low gravity affects generations of fish.
It's all above my head, but I can appreciate that we're learning how to take better care of our astronauts during long-duration space missions.
After all, they can't cast a line if they can't stay in shape.
Tight lines, y'all!