Chicks in space: Baby quail floating in zero gravity (video)

[Video Link].

Not sure of the origin of this footage, or the mission in question. The quail chicks on the space station apparently didn't live long. (via Heather Goss)


  1. Another banal moment in the history of human cruelty.  Regardless of potentially positive benefits to ‘society’ it is still cruel.

  2. I’m going to bet that the quail chicks were just taken up in a Vomit Comet, not actually taken into space.  So they would have only experienced two minutes of weightlessness.  (Well, 2 minutes on, and 2 minutes off, for about two hours.)

    edit// ah, nevermind, it seems that they were actually in a space station. I think it’d still be useful, to figure out how the chicks would start learning to fly in zero-g.

    edit// and if you think that’s cruel….

  3. Baby quail tend not to live long, period, on a percentage basis.  Back when I was delivering mail, several routes had wild quail living in the area, and I’d occasionally see parent quail being followed by their latest flock.  That was usually at least a dozen chicks on first sighting.  In the days that followed, every time I saw the flock, there’s be fewer and fewer chicks following their parent.  The last time I’d see them, there’s only be one or two chicks remaining.

    Predators, food competition, misadventure, whatever, most of them died pretty quickly.  They’re cuter than fluffy kittens, but they’re terribly expendable when they’re that young.

  4. This was aboard Soyuz TM-9.  The cosmonaut (and first space aviculturist!) in the video is Commander Anatoly Solovyov.   The video should probably be credited to  Roscosmos, but I am not certain.   I wrote extensively about the cosmo quails, as @Hugh_Johnson:disqus  noticed:  There is also some footage from a documentary film: (starting at ~40:47).@boingboing-13c5761fbc4d10bc361221c281f84190:disqus , they were fed meal in the form of a moist paste in order to prevent dehydration.  @openid-108772:disqus ,  the scientists did not realize until that experiment that the chicks could not feed autonomously without the ability to mechanically fix their bodies near feeders.  In later trials, quails were fitted with jackets so that they could be harnessed near the feeder.  @twitter-263355709:disqus , quails, though they can fly, are generally cursorial. 

  5. I remember watching this on TV at some point and thinking how fundamentally “wrong” must be for the bird’s brain to perceive it as floating at zero gravity without flapping its wings or not being able to control flight in the traditional way…Sharks would fall in the tonic immobility state in similar conditions but quails are more resilient as it seems!!! :-D

  6. Simmer down.  If I stun the adult, or break its neck before I roast it that’s okay right?  So I starve it while its a chick and hasten its demise a few months early.  These experiments were a ruse to justify the space program which was necessary for US national security.  so just think of it as if the little chicky-wicky became a cold war martyr.  IMHO, it would be an honor to trade places with her.

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