Take your stinking paws off our spaceships, you damned dirty apes! In a move sure to provoke PETA (and start the more paranoid among us worrying that we're heading toward a Planet of the Apes-like future), the Russians are preparing to send a monkey to the Red Planet. According to The Telegraph, the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy is looking into training monkeys for a simulated Mars mission that could eventually lead to an ape blasting into space.
"Earlier this programme was aimed at sending cosmonauts, people [to Mars]," said Zurab Mikvabia, the institute's director. "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."
If you're concerned the space ape won't have the skills to survive a 520-day round-trip journey, don't worry. There'll be a caretaking robot along for the ride to feed and look after the the first primate to Mars and, as Mikvabia so delicately put it, "clean up after it."
We don't care how good a robot the Russians send along for the ride. After a year and a half, we don't think those paws will be the only thing that's stinking ...