Sam, a rhesus monkey, was encased in a model of Mercury fiberglass contour couch for a
flight on the Little Joe 2 rocket. An elaborate set of physiological instruments monitored
the biological impact of space flight on Sam and NASA engineers extrapolated this data to
predict how human beings might cope with this new environment.
While physiological stress was easy to record, the psychological impact of
weightlessness and reentry were unknown.