NASA’s Space Shuttle mission STS-47 had many accomplishments: the 50th Space Shuttle flight; Astronaut Mae Jemison became the 1st African-American female in space; Mamoru Mohri was the first Japanese astronaut to fly on the Space Shuttle; Marc Lee and Jan Davis became the first (and last) husband and wife to fly on the same mission; and the first and only Japanese sponsored Spacelab module (SL-J).
STS-47 Crew in Spacelab-J (CW from left): Mission Specialist 3 N. Jan Davis, Commander Robert L. Gibson, Pilot Curtis L. Brown, Jr., Mission Specialist 4 Mae C. Jemison, Japanese Payload Specialist 1 Mamoru Mohri, Mission Specialist 1 & Payload Commander Mark C. Lee and Mission Specialist 2 Jerome Apt in center. Photo: NASA.
Of the 43 experiments on board STS-47, one was particularly interesting to me: it was the first time frogs were handled in space. I know, I’m easily amused.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Because of their relatively small size, easy care and a several analogous physiological similarities, frogs have long been involved in biomedical research. It was therefore a natural leap to use these same advantages in helping us understand human adaptations to spaceflight.
Frogonaut history starts in 1961 with the ...