What was the first instance of SciFi work that mentioned an Earth animal deliberately brought onto a spaceship?

  • Must be a real spaceship (a vehicle designed on Earth, to travel from Earth to other stars/planets, via SciFi means - this excludes things that travel by dreams or deity influence or magic).

  • The animal is a normal earth animal, brought onto a spaceship intentionally - as a pet, or for colonization, etc...

  • An animal as a companion to human space travelers - not as a test monkey ala Planet of the Apes.

Today's question brought to you by Jonesy.


How about this one, a mere 146 years ago?

Around the Moon (French: Autour de la Lune, 1870), Jules Verne's sequel to From the Earth to the Moon, is a science fiction novel which continues the trip to the moon which was only partially described in the previous novel. It was later combined with From the Earth to the Moon to create A Trip to the Moon and Around It. — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_the_Moon

An illustration from Jules Verne's novel "Around the Moon"

An illustration from Jules Verne's novel "Around the Moon" drawn by Émile-Antoine Bayard and Alphonse de Neuville, September 16, 1872, courtesy WikiMedia

  • 1. Was the dog mentioned in the text? 2. Did Verne have any known way of seeing the illustration before publishing or power to vet it? Good find, but I'm not sure that the answer qualifies without affirmative answer to at least one of those questions – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 31 '16 at 2:05
  • Seriously??? 1. Yes, in chapter one. Their names were Diana and Satellite. 2. Of course - Verne was still alive and not blind, so yes he would have seen how his works were published. – dwardio Aug 31 '16 at 3:10
  • 1. Please add relevant quotes to the answer. 2. Doesn't prove anything unless he had control over whether the picture would be used or not by the publisher. FYI, in modern publishing, the cover image is rarely under control of the writer. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 31 '16 at 3:11
  • 1. Nope. Look, I provided the answer, then went back and gave you the names. Damned if I'm jumping through any more hoops for your amusement loo! 2. This was one of about 20 illustrations in the first edition, so I'm confident he saw them. I'm done. – dwardio Aug 31 '16 at 13:02
  • @DVK-in-exile - An answer that doesn't completely prove what it says but is easily verified is still a valid answer. "Around the Moon" is in the public domain and is not hard to find online, you can easily check that the dog is mentioned in ch. 1 of the text. – Hypnosifl Sep 29 '16 at 23:02

In the first book, From the Earth to the Moon, by Jules Verne, published in 1865

This is basically dwardio's answer, but technically there were dogs in a spaceship in the first book, 5 years earlier.

In chapter 23, the ship design is being discussed, where we see that Barbicane intends to take two dogs with him.

There now remained only the question of air; for allowing for the consumption of air by Barbicane, his two companions, and two dogs which he proposed taking with him, it was necessary to renew the air of the projectile.

In chapter 25, we see a discussion about taking cows and such, which settles on taking just two dogs, as well as some seeds to grow.

Ardan wished to convey a number of animals of different sorts, not indeed a pair of every known species, as he could not see the necessity of acclimatizing serpents, tigers, alligators, or any other noxious beasts in the moon. "Nevertheless," he said to Barbicane, "some valuable and useful beasts, bullocks, cows, horses, and donkeys, would bear the journey very well, and would also be very useful to us."

"I dare say, my dear Ardan," replied the president, "but our projectile-vehicle is no Noah's ark, from which it differs both in dimensions and object. Let us confine ourselves to possibilities."

After a prolonged discussion, it was agreed that the travelers should restrict themselves to a sporting-dog belonging to Nicholl, and to a large Newfoundland. Several packets of seeds were also included among the necessaries. Michel Ardan, indeed, was anxious to add some sacks full of earth to sow them in; as it was, he took a dozen shrubs carefully wrapped up in straw to plant in the moon.

In chapters 26 and 27 we see that the spaceship does, in fact, depart.

Murchison followed with his eye the hand of his chronometer. It wanted scarce forty seconds to the moment of departure, but each second seemed to last an age! At the twentieth there was a general shudder, as it occurred to the minds of that vast assemblage that the bold travelers shut up within the projectile were also counting those terrible seconds. Some few cries here and there escaped the crowd.

"Thirty-five!— thirty-six!— thirty-seven!— thirty-eight!— thirty-nine!— forty! FIRE!!!"

Instantly Murchison pressed with his finger the key of the electric battery, restored the current of the fluid, and discharged the spark into the breech of the Columbiad.

An appalling unearthly report followed instantly, such as can be compared to nothing whatever known, not even to the roar of thunder, or the blast of volcanic explosions! No words can convey the slightest idea of the terrific sound! An immense spout of fire shot up from the bowels of the earth as from a crater. The earth heaved up, and with great difficulty some few spectators obtained a momentary glimpse of the projectile victoriously cleaving the air in the midst of the fiery vapors!

-Chapter Break-

At the moment when that pyramid of fire rose to a prodigious height into the air, the glare of flame lit up the whole of Florida; and for a moment day superseded night over a considerable extent of the country. This immense canopy of fire was perceived at a distance of one hundred miles out at sea, and more than one ship's captain entered in his log the appearance of this gigantic meteor.

In chapter 28, it's confirmed that the spaceship has achieved moon orbit.

That very night, the startling news so impatiently awaited, burst like a thunderbolt over the United States of the Union, and thence, darting across the ocean, ran through all the telegraphic wires of the globe. The projectile had been detected, thanks to the gigantic reflector of Long's Peak! Here is the note received by the director of the Observatory of Cambridge. It contains the scientific conclusion regarding this great experiment of the Gun Club.

LONG'S PEAK, December 12. To the Officers of the Observatory of Cambridge. The projectile discharged by the Columbiad at Stones Hill has been detected by Messrs. Belfast and J. T. Maston, 12th of December, at 8:47 P.M., the moon having entered her last quarter. This projectile has not arrived at its destination. It has passed by the side; but sufficiently near to be retained by the lunar attraction.

The rectilinear movement has thus become changed into a circular motion of extreme velocity, and it is now pursuing an elliptical orbit round the moon, of which it has become a true satellite.

Technically, we never see the dogs put into the capsule before launch. However, the sequel's first chapter assures us they were.

As ten o'clock struck, Michel Ardan, Barbicane, and Nicholl, took leave of the numerous friends they were leaving on the earth. The two dogs, destined to propagate the canine race on the lunar continents, were already shut up in the projectile.

Other Notes

The spaceship in question was launched via a giant cannon. In modern spaceflight theory, this seems pretty absurd. However, it was a plausible suggestion at the time, and isn't really that much different in concept from a rocket strapped to your backside.

The spaceship is propelled into space, where it achieves moon orbit. I feel like that's plenty sci-fi to qualify as an answer to the question.

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