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Space Science

Iranian Space Official: Photo Shows Wrong Monkey 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the pictures-of-you dept.
littlesparkvt writes "One of two official packages of photos of Iran's famed simian space traveler depicted the wrong monkey, but a primate really did fly into space and return safely to Earth, a senior Iranian space official confirmed Saturday. The two different monkeys shown in the photos released by Iran’s state media caused some international observers to wonder whether the monkey had died in space or that the launch didn’t go well."
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Iranian Space Official: Photo Shows Wrong Monkey

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  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday February 03, 2013 @12:55PM (#42778341) Homepage

    Hmm. What that article actually says is that a western news organization ran an image that they claimed they found on an Iranian news website, but when that Iranian site was checked later the same day no such image was found - the unaltered original was found there though.

    In fact, nobody has been able to find the altered image being served by Iranian media anywhere, it seems. So it ends up being "he said she said". That's why the article says

    So far, though, it can’t be said with any certainty whether there is any official Iranian involvement in this instance. Sepah apparently published the three-missile version of the image today without further explanation.

    There could be any number of explanations for that, including a patriotic but rogue photographer on the Iranian side, or even some kind of Western propaganda. I'm very doubtful that AFP has been compromised, it's more likely it was done by the Iranians, but unfortunately there is a history of absurdly flaky forgeries that support the case for war against middle eastern countries surfacing through the press. At any rate, it's impossible to conclude from this that there's some kind of systematic Iranian policy of photoshopping news images.

  • So much propaganda (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday February 03, 2013 @01:04PM (#42778395) Homepage

    Here's the explanation given, and apparently some Harvard professor finds it credible:

    “I say this with certainty that the monkey is in good health and the space flight didn’t have any physical effect on Pishgam,” Ebrahimi said. “Some of the photos released by one of news agencies were not related to the time of flight. They were archive photos of the monkeys being prepared for the launch.”

    Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launchings and space activity, also said this week’s monkey space flight was real, but he had a slightly different explanation for the photo mix-up. He claimed the light gray monkey with the mole died during a failed space mission in 2011.

    “The monkey with the mole was the one launched in 2011 that died. The rocket failed. It did not get into space,” McDowell said. “They just mixed that footage with the footage of the 2013 successful launch.”

    This sounds plausible to me. My experience of working with news agencies in the west is that they're extremely flaky and news stories are always published in a rush with absolutely minimal fact checking. I'd be surprised if things were much better in Iran. This is hardly

    In an ironic meta-fail the article also says, Iran has never confirmed that a monkey died in 2011, or that there was a failed mission that year but that does not appear to be correct [telegraph.co.uk].

    In short, this entire article can be summed up as, "news organization publishes story with some details incorrect, follows up with corrections" - is it really newsworthy?

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