We should also not forget the beings who were the first to make it off this strange little rock into the immediate reaches of Space...
Monkeys in Space
On Gizmodo was a link to a Time photo gallery of 'Number 65' aka 'Ham' the space chimp. Although a few monkeys of different kinds were sent up before him, Ham was the first chimpanzee to leave the atmosphere 50 years ago.
In Praise of Ham the Astrochimp
I'm not sure I feel bad for these furry astronauts, since they seemed to have been treated pretty well... other than being tied to a rocket & blasted into the unknown Void.
What these animals experienced is probably equivalent to a super-intelligent being placing a human into some kind of unfathomable object, propelling the person into an unseen hyperspace dimension.
Of course, that would be awesome.