Monkeys to be experimented on for two years before being sent into space
Russian scientists are reportedly ‘training’ monkeys for a mission to Mars in 2017.1 Over the next two years, the animals will be forced to participate in daily puzzle-solving experiments in an attempt to prepare them for the ordeal.
Scientists at the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow are breeding rhesus macaques in ‘special farms’ where it is reported that only the most intelligent animals are selected. So far, four monkeys have apparently been chosen for their learning abilities and are now being used in ‘training’ experiments.
In a disturbing video released by the researchers, the animals can be seen strapped into restraint devices (euphemistically called primate ‘chairs’ by researchers) where they are forced to sit in front of a computer for three hours a day.
They must use a joystick to select specific targets that appear on the screen in order to receive a small juice reward. It is likely that the monkeys are being cruelly deprived of water in order to motivate them to perform these tasks.
The monkeys will next be expected to master more difficult puzzles and mathematical tasks as part of their ‘training’. The scientists insist that the more intelligent the monkeys become, the more likely they will be able to survive the six-month journey to Mars.
Sadly, sending animals into space is nothing new. The first animal, a macaque monkey called Albert was sent into orbit in 1948 and died of suffocation during the flight.
Since then many animals have been forced to follow, including various species of primates, dogs, rats, mice and frogs, many of whom never returned.
Despite all of this suffering, there have been no discernible benefits to humans.
Russia itself already sent a group of animals into space for one month in 2013 as part of an experiment to help with a manned mission to Mars in 2030. The majority of the animals died due to the stresses of space.2
Sending animals into space is cruel and totally unacceptable.
- Monkeys are heading to Mars: Russian scientists are training macaques to solve puzzles so they can travel to space in 2017. (2015). Daily Mail, 27 Oct: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3291456/Monkeys-heading-MARS-Russian-scientists-training-macaques-solve-puzzles-travel-space-2017.html
- Mice, newts and lizards return from Russian space mission: most died. (2013). Science World Report, 20 May: http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/6958/20130520/mice-newts-lizards-return-russian-space-mission-died.htm