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Iran Wants to Send Cats to Space
by Susana Polo | 4:16 pm, September 20th, 2013
Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency has announced that they may be doing the internet a giant favor by putting a cat into space. It wouldn’t be the first time one of our feline friends has made up and back.
Well, actually they’re not doing it for the internet. They’re doing it because they want to reach the goal of manned spaceflight by 2018.
Iran has successfully sent a number of animals into space, including a mouse, turtles, and worms, and most recently, a chimpanzee. Although whether or not they’d genuinely gotten Pishgam the chimp up and back came under some scrutiny.
A senior space program official, Mohammad Ebrahimi, said at the time that state media mistakenly sent a photo of an alternate monkey that was not used in the February launch. He insisted just one monkey, Pishgam or Pioneer, was sent on the 20-minute flight to a height of 120 kilometers (72 miles) and returned safely.
Iran’s slow ramp up to manned spaceflight has a lot of folks suspicious or worried that it may lead to military applications, and they should be, especially if they are allergic to dander. Next on the list to make the trip, according to the IRNA report, may be Persian cats, although a rabbit and another mouse are also under consideration. Considering the temperament of cats, I’m going to hazard a guess that their suitability as experiment subjects in this case may be more due to Persians being a native breed whose first documented ancestors were imported from Persia to Italy in 1620. And it doesn’t hurt that they are named after Iran’s much respected former name of Persia.
Iran’s astronaut cats won’t be the first of their species to make it to space and back, but if Iran is going for firsts, perhaps they could pull a Felix Baumgartener like this feline:
(via The Washington Post.)