When I first heard they were sending an octopus into space, it sounded like a James Bond movie. The eight legs of it pressing levers and pulling decelerators and twisting valves and recording oxygen levels and adjusting manifolds and toggling toggles and jotting down memoirs and scratching itself. The bulbous bubble of its helmet resting on its bulbous head.
Except all of that kind of stuff was science fictional and not at all what the real octopus would be doing, which was, in fact: sitting in a thick-walled aquarium. It would stare at the accompanying astronauts with its creepy dead-eye glare.
The children aboard the spacecraft would take it out and let the suckers of its tentacles suction to their skin.
Illustrations by Alexander Fukui.