NASA Will Radiate Monkeys for Mars Missions

Bruce Gagnon
November 19, 2009

NASA says it would take almost a year using conventional rockets to get to Mars. By that time a human body would likely turn to jello due to exposure to space radiation. But the space agency has come up with a solution – in fact two of them.

First they want to build the nuclear rocket (Project Prometheus) which NASA says would cut in half the amount of time it would take to get to the red planet. With nuclear reactors for engines NASA also says they could carry heavier payloads which would make it possible to “mine the sky” for precious minerals.

The other solution to the space radiation problem seems to rely on testing monkeys by exposing them to doses of radiation so NASA can further study the effects on the human body. …

“The researchers are to pay particular attention to the effects on the monkeys’ central nervous systems and behaviour. The monkeys, previously trained to perform a variety of tasks, will be tested to see how the exposure affects their performance.
“The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) says that the ‘cruel experiments’ may involve ‘restraint and other cruel procedures’.

“In a statement, they say: ‘Monkeys, like other primates, are highly intelligent, have strong family bonds, demonstrate empathy, and, most importantly, suffer.'” …