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Animals will play a lot of different roles when it comes to space development and settlement. The following write-up describes what we can now imagine.

On the crew missions page it is described that one of the Initial Crew members (and the most popular crew member of Crew Mission #4) could be a female dog. It would have its own space suit with helmet and little oxygen tank. Let loose, it would be able to run freely on the surface of the Moon and could even be trained to conduct triple back flips in the Moon's 1/6th gravity.

And it wouldn't be long before that dog's mate would be brought up on a following cargo missions. And we all can imagine what a dog and its mate leads to -- puppies! The role of the initial dogs would be to garner a tremendous amount of attention and excitement by the many dog lovers on Earth.

Also very early on would be just a few types of animals that would provide food for the crew. Initially, fish in a fish tank fed by algae would be the easiest form of meat possible early on. Waste from the hydroponic greenhouse could be fed to herbivorous fish which could then be eaten by the crew. Likewise, chickens could be an early farm animal -- not so much for their meat but for their eggs. Larger livestock such as cows would come much later after habitats large enough and systems sophisticated enough could deal with them.

Some additional animals could be periodically brought to the little base to help keep the public's attention on the going ons. Consider how much interest there would be when a finger monkey first arrives wearing his own little jumpsuit with a NASA logo on it! But early on the number of animals brought might be limited due to the amount of crew time it would take to care for them.

A major consideration for animals would be just how much more food would need to be produced, especially for carnivores such as cats. Certainly the fish could serve as a source of food for the animals. The good news is that the animals could be smaller than people (e.g. a small dog breed) and so only a portion of the caloric intake compared to each human. But, as the number of animals increases there would need to be dedicated FeedHabs and the solar power systems to power them.

Even as early as the Initial Crew Phase, animal reproduction studies would need to be done because, given time, someone among the international or private settlers is going to get pregnant. So the earlier that the animal studies are done the better informed the would-be parents can be about whether they need to return to Earth immediately or not.

The current thinking is that four animal models in a particular sequence would be the fastest way of getting at the artificial gravity prescription for healthy gestation and childhood. Those would be:
   - First - Mice. They are small, have short life cycles, and when using a large number of them, we could hone in on their artificial gravity prescription fairly quickly.
   - Second - Hamsters. Larger and a bit more human-like they make good lab animals. Its artificial gravity prescription would start with the prescription figured out for the mouse.
   - Third - Marmosets. These are primates. Their pregnancy lasts about four months. Starting with the artificial gravity prescription from the hamsters hopefully it wouldn't take too long to get their prescriptions.
   - Fourth - Macaque monkeys. By US law, chimpanzees cannot be used for research but macaque monkeys can. Their pregnancies are almost as long as that for humans. Again, starting with the marmoset prescription, hopefully it wouldn't take too many trials to determine the artificial gravity prescription for this level of primate.

During the International Lunar Exploration Phase (ILEP), as the international explorers arrive, some of them could contribute unique animals from their countries to a growing lunar zoo. The arrival of such animals could well interest the public not only from the country's citizens but animal lovers world-wide. Some of the animals could be a surprise in that very few would actually know which animal was going to arrive until it actually did arrive.

Eventually it could be possible to have meat animals such as beef and pigs in habitats specifically designed for them -- a "BarnHab". A pretty good case could be made that modern approaches would make the growing of meat unnecessary because it is inefficient compared to alternatives. The Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are examples of meat alternatives which are becoming increasingly popular.

Allowing pets to be taken may be necessary for some private settlers to be willing to go. Certainly the whole service pet phenomenon has made living with pets in public settings more acceptable.

If it turns out that there will be health consequences for children due to the partial gravity of the Moon and Mars then it may be that children could only visit but not actually grow up there. A settlement without children would still be a space settlement but it would lack the full joy that children would bring. It may be that pets would go a long way to providing for the social entertainment that children provide and so may be essential for a psychologically healthy settlement at these locations.

The BioPreserve is a concept for the backing up of Earth's biosphere in the form of species frozen in their most reproducible forms (e.g. spores, seeds, embryos, etc). This seems fine until we get to the mammals. Mammals need mothers to carry them during pregnancy. There are only 5,416 different mammal species. A lunar mammalian zoo is discussed here including how the emerging level of reproductive technology (e.g. artificial wombs in centrifuges) could prevent the need to maintain a mammalian zoo and all of the effort it would take.

The very long-term, ultimate goal for space advocates would be to fully reproduce Earth's biosphere off Earth. This could be done more quickly using the paraterraforming approach (i.e. large greenhouses) as compared to the full terraforming approach (i.e. open-air approach). In the paraterraforming approach, one would need to figure out how the ecology of different species would work to create stable relationships between them. This is no easy task as the Biosphere 2 project demonstrated. But it is eventually doable.

Animals will play a key role in all phases of space development.

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