A picture obtained on December 14, 2013 from Iran's ISNA news agency allegedly shows the launch of the Pajohesh (research) rocket containing a live space monkey named Fargam (Auspicious) at an undisclosed location in Iran.
On Dec. 14, China's Chang'e 3 lunar lander made a historic soft landing on the moon. This is one of the still images broadcast by the state-run news channel CNTV. The soft landing was the first for 37 years, since the Soviet Luna 24 1976 mission.NEWS: China Lands Rover on The Moon
This month marks the 41st year since man last walked on the moon. Seen here standing next to the American flag on Dec. 12, 1972, NASA mission Commander Eugene Cernan carries out the second EVA of the Apollo 17 mission. Coincidentally, the landing of the Chinese Chang'e 3 on Dec. 14 is 41 years to the day since Cernan took his
step on the moon.
The science coming from NASA's rover Curiosity continues to astound. Speaking at the AGU conference in San Fransisco announced further findings of an ancient lakebed that would have been very hospitable to life as we know it.NEWS: Mars Rover Finds Ancient Life-Supporting Lakebed
ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
Stunning detail in the fascinating mounds surrounded by smooth dusty terrain of Juventae Chasma on Mars is captured by the European Mars Express orbiter.
NASA, ESA, and M. Kornmesser
This week, astronomers announced the discovery of huge water vapor plumes over the icy moon Europa. The observation of Jupiter's fascinating satellite was made possible by Hubble.NEWS: Hubble Discovers Water Plumes Over Europa
This week, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield became the first DNews Person of the Year for his outstanding contributions to science outreach during his residency on board the International Space Station.PHOTOS: Chris Hadfield's Awesome Space Odyssey
The night of Dec. 13 saw the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. Activity was moderately high and observers with clear skies were treated to some bright meteors. In this photo, a Geminid was captured by Marshall Space Flight Center's New Mexico camera.
The Flinders Ranges in South Australia as observed by Japan’s ALOS satellite -- the Ranges are a larger geosyncline, a subsiding linear trough in Earth’s crust, sedimentary tock that folded some 500 million years ago.
ESA/Herschel/PACS/MESS Key Programme Supernova Remnant Team; NASA, ESA and Allison Loll/Jeff Hester (Arizona State University)
The Hubble Space Telescope took the most detailed observation of the Crab Nebula -- the remnants of a supernova.
Iran has successfully launched a monkey into space for the second time on Saturday (Dec. 14) and returned it safely to Earth after a 15-minute rocket ride, according to Iranian officials.
Iran's space monkey — named Fargam — launched 74.5 miles (120 kilometers) above Earth's surface atop a liquid fueled rocket, according to a report from the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency in Iran. Reportedly, scientists on the ground were able to monitor the monkey's health and metrics about the rocket during the flight. The mission was announced by the office of Iran President Hassan Rouhani.
"President Rouhani appreciated the Iranian scholars for dispatch of the second monkey named 'Fargam' into space and its successful return," officials with Rouhani's administration said in a statement on his official English language website. "The President also congratulated the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian nation on the significant achievement. He wished further success for the Iranian experts." [Iran in Space: A Photo Gallery]
Fargam's flight will help Iranian scientists to continue developing space technology in the future, according to Islamic Republic News Agency officials. The nation plans to send a human to space by 2018, Iranian officials have said.
This isn't the first time Iran has sent a monkey into space. While an attempt in 2011 failed, Iran successfully launched its first monkey into suborbital space and brought it home on Jan. 28 of this year aboard a capsule called Pishgam, which means "pioneer" in Farsi. Iran's space agency used the country's Kavoshgar 5 rocket to launch that first monkey flight. A similar rocket appeared to have been used in the Dec. 14 flight, according to images posted by the IRNA news agency.
Many Western observers, however, are not convinced that the January monkey launch was actually successful due to the fact that the monkey shown in the recovery photos was different than the one shown in pre-launch pictures. Iranian officials have said that the monkeys in the photos weren't the same because a different monkey was chosen for the flight.
Iran could also be planning to send other animals into space. In September, Iranian space official Mohammad Ebrahimi said that a Persian cat could launch to space as early as March 2014.
The Islamic Republic's space program has completed quite a few milestones in recent years. Iran sent its first satellite into orbit in 2009 and launched two Earth-observing spacecraft in 2011 and 2012.
More from SPACE.com:
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