Damn Dirty Apes … On Mars!
This just in from the BBC: Russia has announced that it plans to send monkeys to Mars! Although the idea conjures up images of a future Mars peopled by a race of hyper-intelligent chimpanzees*, it also makes sense. We want to know the physiological effects of such a long-duration flight, but nobody would want to send a human to do something so risky. So, it falls to the monkeys to do the tough jobs. Such space monkeys will join the venerable ranks of animal astronauts that have come before them, including not only monkeys, but dogs, turtles, and worms.
*It could be argued that that will be the end result of human colonization as well…Humans in Space