Sam the Space Monkey

Remember Sam? The Rhesus monkey who took a spin on Little Joe 2 as part of the Mercury program back in the early 60’s? Here he is, before and after the flight, showing off his model of the Mercury fiberglass contour couch.

This first image is of Sam before the flight. He’d look a bit stressed if that wasn’t an anthropomorphic interpretation!
This second image is of Sam after the flight. He looks a little — what can I say — under the weather. Only the scientist knows for sure.
Why mention Sam? Because the theorists who worked on problems involving the properties of air in action – aerodynamics – were working on the theories that would make it possible for humans to leave the surface of the Earth. Without the early fluid dynamic theorists, Sam and the other animals we’ll mention this week, would have remained firmly on terra firm.
>Actually, that might have been just fine with them!
(Images courtesy of NASA)


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