Lifestyle & Belief

Iran space monkey a fake? Skeptics say so (VIDEO)


An Iranian scientist holds a live monkey at an unknown location on January 28, 2013, which Iranian news agencies said returned alive after it traveled in a capsule to an altitude of 120 kilometres (75 miles) for a sub-orbital flight. Iran took a "big step" towards sending astronauts into space by 2020, successfully launching a monkey above the Earth's atmosphere, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state television.



Iranian scientists, have you been watching family sitcom re-runs? To American TV watchers, your monkey-in-space story sounds strangely familiar.

We’ve seen it before: child entrusts uncle/brother/hapless father with care of guinea pig/goldfish/budgie as she spends a weekend away.

Hijinks ensue, the animal dies/runs away and said uncle-father-brother replaces dearly departed with an exact replica from the pet store … or does he?

Child returns and immediately “knows” something is amiss, leaving us all with a life story to share — and a budgie to bury in the backyard.

That’s the story floating around today after some astute observers drew everyone’s attention to Iran’s triumphant space flight.

On Monday, state-controlled media reported the nation had launched and returned a monkey aboard a rocket.

“This success is the first step towards man conquering the space and it paves the way for other moves,” Iranian defence minister Ahmad Vahidi said, according to the Independent.

More from GlobalPost: Iran's space monkey returns

The launch would be worth noting because of concerns Iran is building nuclear or long-range missiles. Success on Monday would prove international sanctions against Iran aren’t working, the Telegraph said.

Yet, before and after pictures of said monkey appear drastically different.

The monkey’s fur is drastically darker upon return, and it’s missing a distinctive red mole above its right eye.

Either Iran started “Planet of the Apes,” or that’s a strange simian.

“It looks like a very different monkey, the nose, the features, everything is different,” Yariv Bash, founder and CEO of Space Israel, said at

“This means that either the original monkey died from a heart attack after the rocket landed or that the experiment didn’t go that well.”

Or it didn't happen at all.

Iran had unsuccessfully tried to send a monkey into orbit in 2011 after sending a rat, turtle and worms skyward a year before that, Popular Science said.