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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]