Was the Iranian Space Monkey Launch a Hoax?

TV Guide
Iranian Space Monkey | Photo Credits: AFP/Getty Images

We bet the Ikea monkey never would have tried to pull a fast one like this.

Days after Iran claimed to have made history by launching a monkey into space, the Times UK reports that the entire trip may have never taken place.

The newspaper notes that photographs taken of the lucky monkey before his trip differ from photographs of the monkey taken at a post-flight news conference. In the before picture, the monkey has a distinctive red mole above its right eye and a band of light fur around the sides of its head. In the after picture, the mole and the light fur patch have both magically disappeared.

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The paper theorizes that this change indicates that either the monkey died during the trip, and that the Iranian regime was too embarrassed to tell the truth, or that the launch never occurred. "There's been no independent confirmation from outside Iran that the launch did take place, and that the payload contained a monkey, and that the monkey survived," Michael Elleman, an Iranian missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies told the Times UK.

The launch of the rocket was not broadcast live on television, and after the rocket landed, only a few photographs were taken of either the rocket or the monkey, but none of the two together.

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