In 1957 – The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2 carrying the first animal ever to enter orbit, a dog named Laika. It would go on to inspire the saddest Jonathan Coulton song ever, space doggity and the band Laika and the Cosmonauts.
In 1973 – NASA launched Mariner 10 towards Mercury. It would become the first space probe to reach the planet.
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