Without legal recourse against the ISA, anyone concerned wondered: Why would a nation conduct the kind of experiments abandoned by every other country decades ago, sending a household pet on a kamikaze mission into space?
"It's not necessary," Humane Society International president Andrew Rowan told us. Rowan, who chaired the NASA group that authored the Sundowner Report, says that Iran's animal missions are "a waste of time, intellectual capacity and money. There's masses of data in the published literature on the effects of space on living creatures," Rowan said. "This is about bragging rights."
Besides their motives being unscientific, some say that their science is too. "Using animals for flight tests as a precursor to astronauts is a violation of the ‘test as you fly' risk management approach," said April Evans, an ex-NASA engineer who resigned in protest of her former employer's plans to test monkeys with dangerous radiation in 2010. "Keeping a cat alive during a test flight isn't enough to prove a space system is safe for humans."