Laika’s voyage into Earth’s orbit was a landmark moment in human history. It was a testimony to what can be accomplished that paved the way for some of mankind’s greatest achievements. Laika herself, though, was just a dog, with no understanding of what her mission meant. For her, those last weeks of her life were a terrifying and heartbreaking ordeal. In her last moments, Laika was confused and afraid—and if the facts of history had been different, she just might have returned home.