January 06, 2010

What is it with Russia and space lately?

In a move sure to have PETA up in arms, the Russians are contemplating sending monkeys to Mars.

You can't make this shit up.

“We have plans to return to space,” said Zurab Mikvabia, director of the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy in Georgia which supplied apes for the programme in the 1980s.

The Institute is in preliminary talks with Russia's Cosmonautics Academy about preparing monkeys for a simulated Mars mission that could lay the groundwork for sending an ape to the Red Planet, he said.

Such an initiative would build on Mars-500, a joint Russian-European project that saw six human volunteers confined in a capsule in Moscow for 120 days earlier this year to simulate a Mars mission.

Mr Mikvabia said: "Earlier this programme was aimed at sending cosmonauts, people (to Mars).

"But given the length of the flight to Mars, and given the cosmic rays for which we don't have adequate protection over such a long trip, discussions have focused recently on sending an ape instead of a person."

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