Protests from animal rights activists have put a moratorium on NASA plans to expose 27 squirrel monkeys to gamma-ray radiation. Researchers hoped to simulate the effects of space radiation on humans, but protesters claim the experiment’s cruel and unnecessary.
The experiment was put in limbo after PETA obtained documents detailing the experiment using the Freedom of Information Act. According to a representative from the Brookhaven National Laboratory (where the experiment was slated to be conducted), the decision to proceed is now in NASA’s hands. From Space.com:
In a brief statement posted Dec. 8 on NASA’s website, the agency said it will move forward only after completing a comprehensive review of its current research and technology development plans to see how they align with President Obama’s plan for human spaceflight [...]The radiation study would reportedly expose the monkeys to radiation similar to what astronauts would experience on a three-year voyage.
PETA has charged not only that the experiment was cruel, but that the differences between the monkeys and humans would make it impossible to generate usable data, and that the single large dose of radiation would not simulate astronauts’ extended exposure.
Frankly, I think this is all for the best. The last thing society needs is any more of those damn Super Apes running around. The evidence just speaks for itself: