Something to be sent to Mars… maybe.

According to Urmee Khan in The Daily Telegraph the Russians are going to send a monkey to Mars.

A monkey may be sent to Mars, under plans unveiled by Russian scientists.

Just a mo, the headline says ‘Monkey to be sent to Mars’. No ifs, buts or maybes. But what you’re actually saying is that it’s just an idea someone’s mulling over at the moment. Not giving in to a little sensationalism here, are we?

Although the ape will be looked after by a robot on the mission, the decision is expected to spark controversy with animal rights groups.

Huh? It was a monkey a minute ago and now it’s an ape? Never mind sending the poor thing to Mars, what about the fucking genetic transmogrification machine or whatever they must have fed it through to turn it from animal into another?

The Institute [of Experimental Pathology and Therapy in Georgia] is in preliminary talks with Russia’s Cosmonautics Academy about preparing monkeys for a simulated Mars mission…

Preliminary talks doesn’t sound much like the kind of concrete plan suggested by the headline. Oh, and I see it’s turned back into a monkey.

… that could lay the groundwork for sending an ape to the Red Planet, he said.

Ah. Then the idea is to send a monkey first to try and establish safety parameters for a later mission to be carried out by an ape? Is the ape going as a larger scale experiment along the same lines as the monkey that’s going first or is it going to be a fully trained apestronaut? Or are they planning to bring the monkey back from Mars and turn it into an ape again?

[Director of the Institute] Mr Mikvabia said: “Earlier this programme 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.”

I’m confused. Has the monkey been turned into an ape permanently or have just gone and got a chimpanzee and sacked the poor monkey that’s put all this effort in to the Mars trip?

If Russia pursues the idea of sending monkeys to Mars, Mikvabia’s institute could become the site of an enclosed “biosphere” where apes would be kept for long periods to simulate space flights.

Monkeys and apes? Are the monkeys there to help the apes with small fiddly jobs? Are the apes there to help with the heavy lifting the monkeys can’t manage? Or are they going to be turned from one into the other as necessary by the transmogrifier?

The Institute said a robot would accompany the first primate to Mars to feed and look after the ape.

Well, duh, of course they’ll need a robot. Do they think the ape is going to turn into a fucking monkey on it’s own? Everyone knows you can’t operate a transmogrifier from the inside.

Mr Mikvabia said: “The robot will feed the monkey, will clean up after it. Our task will be to teach the monkey to co-operate with the robot.”

Is that so it can eventually persuade the robot to get into the transmogriferdoodab, be turned into an encyclopaedia and mail itself to any newspaper where the staff seem blissfully unaware that monkeys and apes aren’t the same thing?

“Monkey”? Fuck you! I used to be a robot.

Also expanding our horizons The Telegraph helpfully tells us that angels can’t fly.

A leading biologist has compared the physiology of flighted species with the representations of spiritual and mythical creatures in art – and found the angels and fairies that sit atop of Christmas trees did not get there under their own steam.
Prof Roger Wotton, from University College London, found that flight would be impossible for angels portrayed with arms and bird-like feathered wings.


Mate, the main reason those can’t fly is because they’re all paintings and statues of something that might well not be real, hence the use of the phrase “representations of spiritual and mythical creatures in art”. I think maybe Prof Wotton has too much time on his hands. That or UCL had a hell of a Christmas party.

Posted on December 23, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Something to be sent to Mars… maybe..

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