On September 3, 2012, a chimp on the International Space Station escaped from his research facility and seized control of the $100 billion spacecraft. Here are the six animals NASA has since launched into space in an attempt to kill the chimp.
1. A leopard
In the hours immediately after the chimp barricaded himself in the control room of the ISS by sliding a hockey stick through the handles of the door, astronauts on board the ship tried their best to regain control of the situation. When tense negotiations proved fruitless, they sent an emergency signal to ground control: “Deploy leopard.” Just hours later, a starved leopard was hurtling through space to come to the astronauts’ rescue. Unfortunately, the chimp soon got wise to NASA’s plan, and when the leopard finally reached the ISS, it was crushed to death by a piano the chimp had rigged to shoot out of the space station’s airlock.
2. Another chimp
NASA’s next attempt to regain control of the ISS fought fire with fire by launching a second chimp to the spacecraft with a loaded gun. Unfortunately, the second chimp quickly formed an alliance with the first, turning the .357 Magnum revolver on the astronauts and forcing them into a supply closet. The second chimp then stood guard at the door, giving the first chimp free and complete reign of the ISS.
3. A sick dog
By 2014, the chimp rationed his astronaut hostages to one meal a day, and was rapidly eating his way through the rest. NASA developed a mission to kill the rogue chimp by launching a sick dog onto the space station in hopes that the dog would get the chimp sick. NASA worked tirelessly for months to find the sickest dog possible, eventually settling on an old terrier that kept wagging its filthy tail and coughing up pus. The dog was launched from Cape Canaveral on May 23, 2013, but it died immediately after takeoff.
4. A stingray
NASA then partnered with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to send a stingray to the space station, after exhaustive research indicated that maybe a stingray would do well in orbit since it already knows how to swim. The stingray actually came close to killing the chimp, but after a long, protracted battle through the halls of the International Space Station, the chimp emerged victorious. Following this embarrassing debacle, the chimp began using the stingray’s barb as a staff and forcing his onboard hostages to call him Space King.
5. A bee
With almost all of NASA’s funds depleted from a series of failed operations, the agency was forced to think small. In early 2016, they launched a bee into space in a rocket the size of a matchbox. Cries of joy filled the mission control room as operators watched the bee successfully sting the chimp, but the animal was completely unfazed. If anything, the chimp seemed to like it and even sent the following message to ground control in Morse code: GOOD BUG HURT.
6. A scorpion
NASA researchers were ready to cut their losses and relinquish the entire space station to the chimp, when Elon Musk stepped in to offer his ingenuity. Together, NASA and SpaceX worked to launch a highly poisonous scorpion to the space station, hidden inside a big wooden box labeled BANANAS. Ground control watched with bated breath as the puzzled chimp eyed the box. But to the scientists’ dismay, the chimp grew suspicious of the package at the last second and forced one of the astronauts to open it for him. The astronaut was immediately killed, and the chimp and the scorpion made plans to marry in the fall.
As of April 2017, the chimp remains in control of the International Space Station. NASA is working around the clock to engineer a rocket capable of launching an entire pack of wolves into space. To date, the agency’s efforts to depose the chimp have cost it $43.8 billion.