January 28, 2013 1:20 pm
A picture can speak a thousand words. This one reads: “Ohdeargod help me I just returned from space.” This monkey, Iran says, just returned from a trip into space—and a rather traumatic one, by the looks of it. The Washington Post reports:
The alleged rocket launch that put the monkey into space has not been confirmed by Western intelligence agencies. But that face certainly carries the expression of a creature that has just been launched, against its will, on a terrifying journey into the great beyond that its tiny brain could never possibly comprehend.
Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced today on Iran’s state television that the country had successfully launched the monkey, AFP writes. Iranian news agencies reported that the monkey traveled in a capsule at an altitude of 75 miles for its sub-orbital flight. In 2011, Iran attempted a similar feat, though the unfortunate monkey from that trip did not return to grimace about it. No official explanation about the animal’s fate was ever released. Iran has also sent a rat, turtles and worms into space.
Iran sees the victory as a step towards buffering up its technology and space program. Vahidi remarked that sending a human into space would take some time, though. The country predicts that goal could be realized in 2020.
Western nations, however, are less than thrilled. The same technologies deployed in Iran’s space program, they fear, could be used to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads that some countries suspect Iran is developing in secret. Iranian officials deny that the space program is a front for any military pursuits.
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