Some rivalries die hard. Ham the American chimpanzee stirred up some Cold War ire when he became the first hominid in space in early 1961; now, scientists at the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy, the pride of early Soviet space science, want to send one of their 350 apes on a mission to Mars -- with a robot overseer, naturally.
The institute resides in Sukhumi in the breakaway Georgian province of Abkhazia (remember that brief military tangle last year when Russia rolled through its former Soviet satellite?), where it once churned out medical research, as well as two rhesus monkeys that traveled into space in 1987. When the Soviet Union collapsed so did the institute's benefactor, but a renewed relationship with Russia since seceding from Georgia has rekindled Abkhaz-Russian relations, as well as the prospect for sending one of the institute's many surviving apes into space.
Russia's Cosmonautics Academy is in preliminary talks with the institute regarding a simulated space flight to Mars that would lay the foundation for a future mission. As such, the institute may become home to a biosphere-like containment facility like the recent Mars-500 project that confined six humans in space-simulating conditions for 120 days. A round-trip journey to Mars is estimated to take about 520 days, so a Mars-bound space ape would have to withstand confinement for very lengthy periods of time.
That's where the story takes a real twist: to help the monkey maintain itself during such a long journey, scientists are considering sending a helper robot along on the mission to feed and clean up after the ape. The monkey, of course, would have to be carefully trained to interact with the robot. Yerosha, one of the rhesus monkeys the institute sent into space in 1987, managed to free a paw and run amok during Russia's last 13-day space-ape adventure, so there's no telling what sort of calamities might befall a bored Russian ape on a year-and-a-half mission to the Red Planet. Even if the mission never materializes, there's probably a Pixar script somewhere in that premise.
what would be the point of sentencing an animal to death on such a flight?
To see if it goes insane or whatever it may do for the long duration of time that it is alone. very much animal crulty.
Purpose is to see if there are dangers to humans that we don't understand. As such there is some merit to the concept. If you want to do something try to investigate the program to make sure that they will treat the animals humanely.
So what your saying is that they years of space travel, the space station, and other space tech. that we still do not have a good understanding of the dangers of space travel? Or is it that we need to understand what kind of reaction an app would have being isolated for long periods of time without contact from anything?
Really what misunderstood danger is out there? Radiation. nope we already have a way around that. Zero gravity? nope that doesn't really hurt you just degrades your mucles over a long period of time. So what misunderstood dangers lurk out there?
Option 1 - send a lab bread monkey to Mars to undoubtably die, but give us useful information on the possibility of getting living things there
Option 2 - send a person there, to undoubtably die, and set the movement back
Option 3 - never go
So for all the bleeding heart hippies, you either stop progress or you kill some monkeys (not free, wild monkeys, but lab raised monkeys created for the purpose of dying for science).
Killing a wild ape, tragedy. Breeding an ape to die, farming.
If you want cruelty to animals, there are far worse things under the sun. That I can go to McDonalds and get a hamburger topped with a chicken paddy, a fish paddy, and bacon on it and eat four animals in one bite, would be a higher candidate. Well, off to lunch.
That sounds delicious Oak.
actually if you are eating a hamburger you are prolly eating multipule cows at once, same with the chicken and fish. so really you are eating about 100 animals at once. I think progress is great, but torturing animals is kinda not my thing. call me a hippy if you want. i just want them to find another way to do it then letting the app go insane in space.
Discussions about saving the animals and cruel farming conditions are best conducted when munching a good hamburger and wearing a leather belt and shoes.
Don't forget to give your dog some lamb-and-rice kibble before putting him in the crate so he won't hump your dinner guests' legs.
We have never sent anything living much farther than the Earth's magnetic field. Even the astronauts who landed on the moon traveled during a time of relatively low radiation levels (they're higher now) and the idea was that "well, they won't be out there that long. The difference in distance between the moon and Mars is mind boggling (at least for me, astronomical distances border on imperceptible).
We don't have the ability to launch something into space with adequate radiation shielding to travel to Mars. Don't even get me started on the effects of prolonged exposure microgravity :)