Iran’s Space Monkey Mix-up
There's some monkey business going on in Iran's space program:
Iran's Space Agency Confirms Reports on Launch Used Images of Two Different Monkeys
A senior official at Iran's space agency confirmed on Saturday that state media reports on the launching of a monkey into the thermosphere had used images of two different monkeys. The official insisted, however, that the monkey had survived the journey and that Iran was not trying to cover up a failed flight... doubts about Iran's claim that the monkey had survived the journey spread after journalists noticed that the monkey pictured in the first reports from state-run news organizations had a prominent mole over its right eye, before the launch, but had clear skin when it showed up at postflight celebrations broadcast on Iranian television the next day.
Iran insists there's an innocent explanation for this. You see, the monkey with the mole was acting nervous, and so they substituted another monkey at the last minute. However, as the NYT points out, "The space agency did not, apparently, offer to disprove rumors that one of the monkeys had died by showing them both to the A.P. reporter on Saturday."
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