Monkeys to Mars?

We’ve blogged repeatedly about the fascinating capabilities of monkeys and now it seems our primate cousins may beat us to Mars. Russia’s Cosmonautics Academy, which first sent monkeys into orbit in 1983, is in talks with Georgian scientists to prepare monkeys for a simulated Mars mission. Zurab Mikvabia, director of the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy in Georgia, said, “Earlier this program 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.” Any monkeys sent into space will be supervised by robots. [%comments]


"Any monkeys sent into space will be supervised by robots."

Sounds like the Russians have mastered the basic tenets of US business now as well.


I cannot imagine that there are not hundreds of skilled adventureres who would glady take the risk of taking a manned mission to Mars (MMM!). The glory--even in failure--of such a noble endeavor--and one that would be followed by more intelligent missions that built upon their initial contributions--would be worth almost any risk.

Further, by sending humans into space, we likely accelerate our success by a huge factor. Instead of years of multiple monkey missions (MMM!), we could leapfrog to manned missions, enabling us to gather a much richer range of information--even in failed missions.

A human astronaut can send back information that is beyond the technical sensors. A human could advise of the psychological aspects, physical aspects, and even come up with improvements that would make later missions safer, faster, better.

Put this ad in all major newspapers and see what result you get:

"Average pay, incredible risk, strong possibility of failure and death, months of desolation...and the chance to be the first men to set foot on Mars. Apply at NASA."


Peeling bananas?

If you have the robots, why do you need the monkeys?


Also with apes it's cheaper because they don't have to plan for a return trip.

At least that's how previous Russian animal rocketry has often worked (love yah Laika!)


y not send a person freakonomics has put the price of a head @ $6,000,000 the gains suggested by #2 will be far more valubale and save over 50 times that ammount

Manuel Vasquez

I'm impressed that Georgians and Russians are cooperating on anything. Does Vlad Putin know about this?

Eric M. Jones

....and the monkeys are there to bite anybody who messes with the robot controls.....

Lee, Naturalized since Y2K

Poor monkey...

One small step for mankind, one large step for animal rights activist!