The first official pawtrait of Pluto, the first dog to go to Mars.

The first official pawtrait of Pluto, the first dog to go to Mars.

We’ve all heard about the humans signing up for the mission to colonise Mars, but what would we do without man’s best friend there too? Dogs have been proven to help with stress, depression and anxiety, and could offer a real boost to morale when times get tough for the Martians. It was this line of thinking that led Michael M. Ouse to volunteer himself and his dog Pluto for the mission.

Michael told us: “I’ve always had an interest in space, as you can tell by Pluto’s name! I was interested in the mission to Mars, but I wouldn’t go anywhere without Pluto. When we looked at the therapeutic benefits of dogs, the mission controllers agreed it would be a good idea to bring Pluto along too.”

Pluto and Michael will be some of the first Martians to set up on Mars, due to reach the Red Planet by 2019. The National Animal Society for Astronauts (N.A.S.A) have ensured that Pluto will have all the facilities he needs on Mars, including a specially made space suit for dog walks, with a magnetic fetch attachment system.

Donald Goose, a representative for the society, commented: “We believe Pluto could be a really great addition to the mission. In addition to his fantastic temperament, a dog’s ability to fetch and retrieve could be really helpful. With his magnetic fetch attachment system, he’ll always be ready to lend a helping paw.”

Michael hopes that his journey with Pluto will be the start of a new colony of people and pets on Mars. Michael comments: “We all know how much pets make us feel at home, so hopefully, in time, more people will be able to bring their pets to Mars”.

Jessica Barratt

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