Mapping the Moon
Zond 5 Sends Animals to Lunar Orbit
Zond 5 launched September 14, 1968, for a circumlunar mission three months before NASA planned to send astronauts to lunar orbit aboard Apollo 8. The Soviet probe carried two turtles, flies, worms, plants, seeds, and bacteria. The spacecraft flew around the Moon on September 18 and splashed down in the Indian Ocean three days later. The biological payload survived the trip. The turtles lost body weight but were otherwise healthy.