Two bullfrogs were yesterday (Friday) all set to go on a five-day orbital flight around the earth and give their lives in the cause of science.
Two bullfrogs were yesterday (Friday) all set to go on a five-day orbital flight around the earth and give their lives in the cause of science. But the flight, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Wallops island station, was postponed due to an electronic fault, and the frogs were reprieved for at least ten days.
A prime objective of the orbital mission - America's first involving frogs - was to test the effects of the absence of gravity on the inner ear. The inner ear of the bullfrog resembles that of man, and knowledge about the effects of weightlessness in space is important to man's future in space.
Scientists implanted tiny electrodes in nerves of senor cells in the inner ears of the frogs, and have been carrying out tests in a water-filled, whirling centrifuge similar to that fitter in the 293 1b (133 kilogram) spaceship.
When the flight takes place, the frogs' reactions will be transmitted back to earth. After tests are completed, the Space Agency says the frogs will be "gently and humanely" asphyxiated through a steady build-up of carbon dioxide in their chamber.
Yesterday's scheduled flight was abandoned after a problem in the electronic command system caused a hold-up of several hours.