Monkey and Robot go to Mars.

PopSci says the Russians are floating the idea of sending a monkey and robot to Mars. For real:

Russia’s Cosmonautics Academy is in preliminary talks with the [Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy] regarding a simulated space flight to Mars that would lay the foundation for a future mission.

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.

(nb: Someone needs to tell PopSci‘s writers that “monkey” and “ape” are not synonyms. No. Apes are the ones without prehensile tails. Curious George has a lot to answer for.)