Earlier this week, Iran made a pretty big deal about their supposedly successful attempt at launching a monkey into orbit and returning him safely to Earth. "Iran is on its way to send a man into space," an Iranian defense minister announced triumphantly. Sketchy state media reports convinced plenty of people that Iran's mission had gone off without a hitch, including U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. She said the news concerned her because "any space launch vehicle capable of placing an object in orbit is directly relevant to the development of long-range ballistic missiles." But after looking closely at the evidence Iran is using to prove the simian space mission's success, experts have easily called Iran's bluff.
Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray talked to a former NASA policy analyst who cast doubts on the mission earlier this week. And today, The Telegraph's Phoebe Greenwood and The Times' Martin Fletcher were among the first journalists to notice something fishy with Iran's photographic evidence. Let's look at the smoking gun—a visual comparison between the alleged survivor, pre-mission and post-mission. On the left we see the monkey Iranian scientists showed off at a press conference after the "landing." On the right, we see the monkey they presented to photographers just before loading him into the spacecraft.
Is the whole Internet crazy, or are they totally not the same monkey? This side-by-side comparison really reminds us of those before-and-after ads on the subway that show how easy losing weight can be—when you're able to morph into a completely different person. If Iran did indeed send that poor little wide-eyed monkey to his death, it wouldn't be the first time. Their previous effort to send a monkey into the Final Frontier ended tragically in 2011 when "[the] anticipated objectives" of their Kavoshgar-3 rocket launch "were not accomplished."
Inset image: The Telegraph