Iran space official explains about 'different' space monkey photos
Washington, Feb 3 : An Iranian official has confirmed reports that a monkey had been sent into space in a space mission, although he admitted that one of the two photos of the space-travelling primate depicted the wrong monkey.
Mohammad Ebrahimi, a senior space official, has said that one set of pictures showed an archive photo of one of the alternate monkeys and added that the photos were not related to the time of flight, Huffington Post reports.
One set of pictures showed a relatively dark-haired monkey. Another showed a different monkey - strapped in a pod - that had light gray hair and a distinctive red mole over its right eye.
Ebrahimi also said that the monkey, whom he calls Pishgam, is healthy and did not suffer from any negative effects from its space expedition. He added that of the three to five monkeys simultaneously tested for such a flight, the one that is best suited for the mission is chosen for the voyage.
Agreeing with the official, Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer, however had a different explanation for the photographic mix-up. He claimed the light gray monkey with the mole died during a failed space mission in 2011.
The two different monkeys shown in the photos released by Iran's state media raised suggestions about Iran's space mission with a monkey on board was fake.
But, Iran has never confirmed that a monkey died in 2011, or that there was a failed mission that year.