Western media question the success of Iran's space mission, after Iran had successfully launched a monkey into space in late January. Journalists meticulously studied two photographs published by the Iranian news agency, on which the monkey was shown before and after the flight.
As it turns out, the photographs depict two different monkeys. The first one has a light-gray color, and a red birthmark above the eye. On the second picture, the monkey's fur is darker and there is no birthmark. The differences in the photos made many question the success of Iran's space mission.
However, according to the Guardian, it seems that the monkey did return to earth safe and sound. Moreover, the mission can be considered a success, the newspaper said. The confusion with the photos is explained as follows. For unknown reasons, the Iranian news agency distributed an archive photograph of the monkey, which they tried to send into space in 2011. The second photo shows the Iranian national hero - a monkey named Pishgam, which successfully flew into space and returned to Earth.
The Iranian authorities have reacted to the news about the photos. Thus, high-ranking official from the aerospace company, Mohammad Ebrahimi, said the monkey as in a good condition and did not suffer from the space trip. "Some of the pictures published by one of the news agencies were not related to the most recent flight. Those were archival photographs," said Mohammed Ebrahimi.
The test is a part of preparations for the launch of the Iranian manned space program. Iran is to launch a manned spacecraft into space in 5-8 years.