You almost couldn't make this up - perhaps it has been made up - but a number of sites around the web are reporting Russian plans to send a Monkey to Mars. What makes the whole thing assume a distinct air of lunacy is reports that they plan to send a robot with the monkey to look after it. What doesn't seem to have been explained is if the monkey will receive a return ticket. And no matter how good the robot, this is bound to cause a huge stink, not only in the capsule but with animal rights groups. For me, it does seem unnecessarily cruel. It's also been reported recently that any number of people are willing to go to Mars, even if it is a one-way trip. Much better surely to send human beings who have made the intellectual decision to go on a suicide mission rather than some poor animal. The AFP seems to have the best info on this story. Of course the big worry is that the Monkey and the robot might one day return at the head of a Monkey/Robot death armada and enslave us all!
Sad news to report. Gene Barry, star of the 1953 movie version of The War of the Worlds has passed away at the age of 90. Barry was most famous for his television work, including Bat Masterson and Burke's Law, but of course for me he will forever be associated with the spectacular George Pal movie, in which he played the lead role of Dr. Clayton Forrester. The movie was arguably the best of the many science fiction movies made in the 1950s, boasting incredible special effects and an above average script in a genre that struggled for respectability. Most people probably consider it a B movie, but for me, it will always score an A. Rest in peace Mr Barry.