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Need to Go to Mars?

Story ID:5882
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
Year:2010
Person:various
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With all the problems we have on planet Earth - should we at this time
contemplate spending $1.75 million dollars of taxpayer money to fund a
study which NASA says is needed if the agency ever hopes to send a
mission to Mars?

I'm sorry but the idea of reaching Mars one day really just doesn't excite me.
Maybe one day it will. Maybe one day we will run out of space and we might
have to consider finding new worlds and Mars maybe one of them. But I don't
see the urgency just now and I certainly hope that should this come to pass,
we will no longer have to subject primates to the cruel experimentations so
often performed on them in the past and which is being contemplated yet
again by NASA. AAVS tells us that there are alternatives to using live
animals. Why aren't they exploring them?

NASA wants to subject 18-28 squirrel monkeys to radiation while being
restrained in primate chairs, forced to perform certain tasks, and then tested
for cognitive function. Being restrained in a chair - for how long? I wish they
would consider for once the sufferings these poor monkeys would entail but
for too long they have not. Many of us have read about similar cruel
experimentations and we will never agree to their need.

Re using the monkeys in this research study American Anti-Vivisection notes
"...studies show that captivity and restraint alone can cause brain impairment,
making such experiments unreliable in predicting the effects of radiation on
humans."

They have asked us to write NASA to halt its plan to use monkeys in radiation
experiments. These will cause much unnecessary animal suffering. This data
cannot be translated to humans -therefore we would be wasting taxpayer dollars.

AAVS provided a well-written message we were urged to send as well as to
personalize it if we chose. I found no need to express my sentiments because
theirs were so on target. This is the message I and I hope countless thousands
and thousands sent to Mr. Charles Bolden of NASA:

"Although I support the mission of NASA, I was shocked to learn that the
agency plans to fund radiation experiments involving squirrel monkeys.

I am opposed to these experiments because they are inherently cruel. Past
studies have shown that primates exposed to gamma rays experience
depressive behavior, convulsions, diarrhea, vomiting, and even death.

In addition, because humans are biologically different from monkeys, the data
gleaned from the experiments will not be readily translated.

Viable, non-animal research methods are available and should be used instead
of these sentient creatures who feel pain and have the ability to suffer.

Please halt these inhumane experiments immediately."

If you agree please go the American Anti-vivsection Internet site for information
to send your thoughts to NASA in this regard.