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Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, and Phooey

The five mice and three astronauts returned to Earth from the Moon in the Apollo 17 Command Module America, now on display at Space Center Houston
Astronaut Ronald Evans and the five mice orbited the Moon together for over six days in 1972
The Apollo 17 mission insignia features the names of the three human crew members who traveled with the mice

Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, and Phooey were five mice who traveled from Earth and circled the Moon 75 times on the 1972 Apollo 17 mission. NASA gave them identification numbers A3326, A3400, A3305, A3356 and A3352, and their nicknames were given by the Apollo 17 crew, Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, and Ronald Evans. The four male mice, one female mouse, and Evans orbited the Moon for six days and four hours in the Apollo command module America as Cernan and Schmidt performed the Apollo program's last Moon excursions. One of the mice died during the trip, and the four others were killed and dissected for their intended biological information upon their successful return from the Moon.

The three astronauts and the five mice were the last Earthlings to travel to and orbit the Moon.[1] Evans and the five mice share two living-being spaceflight records: the longest amount of time spent in lunar orbit (147 hours 43 minutes), and the most lunar orbits traveled (75).[2]

MissionEdit

Apollo 17 launched December 7, 1972, and returned to Earth on December 19. A biological cosmic ray experiment (BIOCORE) carried the five pocket mice (Perognathus longimembris), a species chosen for the experiment because they had well documented biological responses. Some advantages of the species included their small size, their ease of maintenance in an isolated state (requiring no drinking water for the expected duration of the mission and producing highly concentrated waste), and their proven capability of withstanding environmental stress.

The mice, Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, and Phooey, had been implanted with radiation monitors under their scalps to see whether they would suffer damage from cosmic rays.[3] Four of the five mice survived the flight; the cause of death of the fifth was not determined.[3]

After their return to Earth, the four remaining live mice were killed and dissected, and although lesions in the scalp and liver were detected they appeared to be unrelated to one another, and were not thought to be the result of cosmic rays. No damage was found in the mice's retinas or viscera.[3] At the time of the publication of the Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report their brains had not yet been examined,[3] and subsequent studies however showed no significant effect on the mice's brains.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Burgess, Colin; Dubbs, Chris (July 5, 2007). Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 320. ISBN 9780387496788. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  2. ^ NASA Apollo 17 page
  3. ^ a b c d Bailey. O.T.; et al. (1973). "26. Biocore Experiment". Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report (NASA SPP-330).
  4. ^ Haymaker, Webb; Look, Bonne C.; Benton, Eugene V.; Simmonds, Richard C. (January 1, 1975). "The Apollo 17 Pocket Mouse Experiment (Biocore)". In Johnston, Richard S.; Berry, Charles A.; Dietlein, Lawrence F. (eds.). SP-368 Biomedical Results of Apollo (SP-368). Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. OCLC 1906749.