The first idea the NASA had for the NASA Bicentennial Event was not the Viking Lander on Mars.
NASA wanted to hark back to the early days of space exploration when mice, rats, dogs, monkeys and chimpanzees were orbited and returned. The Russians did orbit a dog, but failed to bother to return it.
To that end NASA wanted to orbit three cows around the Earth.
Why you ask?
You will be glad you did.
You see by orbiting three cows around the Earth, would result in the first herd shot round the World.