In addition to the three astronauts, Apollo 17 carried 5 pocket mice aboard the command module America. The astronauts nicknamed them Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, and Phooey. One of the mice died; the remaining four returned to Earth alive.

Which mouse (by both number and name) died during the mission?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the documentary evidence is pretty clear that A-3352 is the one who died, but I don't see any sources tying numbers to names. Good question! $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Oct 9 '20 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ If these names sound gendered in English (I can not tell), the mouse who died was not the single female of the group. $\endgroup$ Oct 9 '20 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ The astronauts carried mice in their pockets? To keep them warm? That's certainly a simpler solution than building an environmentally controlled sealed environment for them, saves complexity, space, and weight. It's like using a pencil instead of inventing a pen. Genius! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 9 '20 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ Worth noting that their diet was not low-residue: hulled millet, oat groats, whole rye, and shelled sunflower seeds. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Oct 9 '20 at 18:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is the first time I've known about the Apollo 17 mice. It wasn't mentioned in Cernan's book Last Man on the Moon. With 5 mice & 3 men who was the unlucky astronaut who initially had only one mouse as a companion? For some reason, this reminds me of how the 60s rock band Three Dog Night got it name - Five Mouse Lunar Mission. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Oct 9 '20 at 19:30

Partial answer posted as a community wiki:

The dead mouse was a male, numbered A-3352.

The most complete account of the Apollo 17 pocket mouse experiment is provided in Biomedical Results of Apollo (pdf, html). A table in figure 7 specifies some vital statistics of the five flown mice:

        Weight (g)  Food left   
Number  start  end  start  end  Notes / Behavior at recovery
------  ----------  ----------  ---------------------------------------
A-3326  11.2   9.7  30.0   6.5  female, survived, "in worst condition"
A-3400  10.7   8.6  30.0  16.0  male, survived, "groggy"
A-3305  10.2   9.5  30.0   6.4  male, survived, "in the best condition"
A-3356  10.1   8.9  30.0  17.4  male, survived, "in excellent condition"
A-3352  10.0   7.2  30.0  20.1  male, deceased

The behavior at recovery, as well as a mention of the genders of the mice, is described on pp. 389-391.

It's worth noting that the order A3326, A3400, A3305, A3356 and A3352 is from the heaviest to the lightest initial weight, and that every table and list that I have found (including Wikipedia, Biomedical Results of Apollo, and Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report) preserves this very particular order.

There's no mention of how the mice were arranged in the tubes. The order described above may or may not be relevant to the order that they were placed in the tubes.

Various experiments were performed on the five mice, and in each case the identity of the mouse is specified by number. Thus, it appears that they had some means of identifying the particular mice. However, I have been unable to find how they were able to tell the mice apart. Perhaps they put markings on the mice, or kept track of which tube they were in, or both.

The dead mouse's name is to be determined.

The NASA scientific sources refer to the mice by number, not name.

It seems that most mentions of the mice's names on the Internet reference Wikipedia (often outright copying its text). In turn, Wikipedia cites a Springer book, which I do not have a copy.

Another source is cited in a CollectSpace forum post:

Thank to those who gave me good tips on this subject, and I've now pinned down the source of those names to an interview conducted with Gene Cernan for the long-defunct "Spaceflight News" (No.7). They were indeed unofficially named Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum and Phooey.

but I am unable to find "Spaceflight News".


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