Iran made waves earlier this week with the big news that it had successfully launched a monkey into space and back. That "and back" part is rather important, not just for the safety of the little primate in question, but also as it's an important step towards developing climate control and landing systems for a human flight, which Iran says is coming.
But hold up a minute. Iran may have pulled a monkey switch!
Look at that image above, from the Telegraph. On the right is the monkey in its launch chair, which matches the released image of the primate in the middle. Both have light hair and a bright red mole over its right eye. But look at the left: That monkey, wearing a silk tuxedo, was trotted out by Iran to show that it indeed hadn't killed its adorably payload. WHERE IS THE MOLE? Plus, it has dark hair.
Guess who's calling Iran on the bluff: Yep, an Israeli space nonprofit. “It looks like a very different monkey, the nose, the features, everything is different,” Yariv Bash, founder of Space Israel, a nonprofit tasked with sending an unmanned Israeli ship to the moon, told the Telegraph. “This means that either the original monkey died from a heart attack after the rocket landed or that the experiment didn’t go that well."
That means one of two things: Either Iran's original space monkey died during the flight, or it faked the whole thing. Now, there was a question of whether the launch was real in initial reports. No Western analysts reported a rocket flight from Iran at the time, which could have been a matter of intelligence agencies not wanting to discuss the launch just yet. But considering we've got a monkey gaffe of historic proportions on our hands, it appears that the whole thing is likely a ruse. The new space race is still heating up, but it looks like Iran's rockets are only flying on lies.