In the Spirit of Ham.

BBC reports on a Russia’s new generation of space monkeys being trained for Mars:

“People and monkeys have approximately identical sensitivity to small and large radiation doses,” explains the institute’s director, Boris Lapin. “So it is better to experiment on the macaques, but not on dogs or other animals.”

The institute will select macaques that may eventually fly to Mars before humans do. After two years of experiments the most suitable 40 monkeys will be sent to the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, where scientists study aerospace biomedicine.

Experiments on the monkeys will be carried out at the same time as the Mars-500 project. That project – due to start early next year – is aimed at simulating the conditions of interplanetary flight. Volunteers will have to spend 17 months in a mock-up “spaceship” in Moscow.


You can read more about Ham, the Space Chimp, and other primate space pioneers in Pat Hughes’ book One Small Step: America’s First Primates in Space.