On Monday, Iran announced the country had sent a monkey into space. Because such a move would never have anything to do with warfare, officials swore the launch was another step toward Tehran's totally innocent dreams of a manned space flight.
But today, the Times UK wisely points out a glaring discrepancy in state-controlled media's before-and-after photos, which you can compare above, thanks to the AP. Before the launch, the Iran Space Monkey had a red mole above his right eye (left). After he returned, the mole was gone (right). The Mirror, which has more photos of the creature, also notes that the monkey had a different shade of fur before his travel. Did Mr. Monkey stop by the space dermatologist and the space colorist on the way back to Planet Earth?
There'd already been skepticism about the country's bold, and dangerous, claim. Henry Hertzfeld, a former NASA policy analyst, told Buzzfeed on Monday that the trip seemed highly unlikely. "I wouldn't believe it yet, but I'm not saying they couldn't."
The U.S. State Department also wouldn't confirm any aspect of the allegation. "Neither monkey nor launch," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland informed CBS, "nor launched monkey."
Since examining the conflicting photos, "international observers," a/k/a anyone with eyeballs and brain cells, have concluded that the first monkey died, or far more likely, no monkeys ever went anywhere at all.
This simian-space news is oddly timed. Because we would like to announce exclusively, here, right now, that Gawker Media also recently launched a monkey into space, in the company's march to become a sovereign nation. The monkey did lose some weight in his journey, it's true, but he made it back safely and is said to be in good spirits.
Here he is, before, on the left. Then a few minutes ago, after, on the right:
This is a very exciting development.
[Times UK; r-l: AP Photo/ISNA, Mohammad Agah; AP Photo/AP Video]