It’s a big step for hamkind.
A hamster has successfully returned to Earth after being launched into the stratosphere with a flying balloon.
The spaceham reached a maximum height of 23 km – and is in good health after recovering safely from the sea off Japan’s Miyako Island.
According to Iwatani Giken, the company behind the daring experiment, the hamster was placed in an airtight cubicle 60 cm high and 50 cm in diameter, with the same atmospheric pressure and temperature as the ground.
One photo showed the rodent looking wistfully out the window as it looked twelve kilometers above the earth.
Launched from Miyakojima, a city in Okinawa prefecture, the balloon climbed at an average of 6.3 meters per second.
A camera installed in the cabin allowed the animal to nap comfortably during the gradual ascent.
Iwatani Giken hopes to bring human spaceflight to the masses, and the experiment was designed to give potential consumers confidence.
Further test flights to an altitude of 25 km are planned – and at this altitude people could see the curvature of the Earth.
Running in a wheel may seem a little disappointing to the hamster now that he has a penchant for heights.