Feeds

NASA to irradiate monkeys for science

Progress goes 'ook'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

It's good to see NASA getting back into the old spirit of space exploration these days. After years of settling for what are essentially low orbit field trips, the space agency is not only setting sights back on the moon, it's reintroducing the neglected trade of doing strange and unusual things to moneys for science.

NASA will now be exposing 18 to 28 squirrel monkeys to low doses of daily radiation to better understand effects of long-term exposure outside Earth's protective magnetic shield, Discovery News reports. It's the first time NASA has experimented on monkeys in decades.

Space boffins are particularly eager to discover how the type of radiation that astronauts would encounter on trips to distant planets will impact the central nervous systems and behaviors of the monkeys. NASA has been irradiating rats and mice like gangbusters, of course, but nothing says science quite like the smell of over-exposed simian.

"Obviously, the closer we get to man, the better," said Eleanor Blakely, a biophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to Discovery.

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley lab are now training squirrel monkeys to carry out various behavioral tasks. Once they get comfortable, they'll be shipped to NASA's Space Radiation Laboratory in New York and exposed to varying levels of radiation to see what happens.

NASA said the monkeys will not be killed and will retire to McLean Hospital in Boston where veterinarians and staff will oversee the animals for the remainder of their lives.

After the Space Shuttle Challenger carried two monkeys up to space in 1985, NASA has largely left out our simian friends from the field of space exploration. This gap sadly left Russia with a decades-long lead on the USA in the field of simian rocket science. But the commencement of monkey radiation studies leaves hope that these noble beasts may regain their place as cosmic pilgrims in the name of American science. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.