10 Gerbils were catapulted into space today for a twelve day voyage. These mammals, often under-utilized as household pets, are now being vitally employed in the field of scientific research.
"They are actually man's best friend", an official said today as he waved them off.
It is a little known fact that gerbils share 100% of their DNA with humans. This genomic commonality will allow scientists to study the psychological and physiological effects of long term space flights on humans.
This mission will teach us much about the human condition. Behavioural psychologists are especially interested in the gerbil mating behaviour during the journey. With 9 of the 10 gerbils being female the flight should make for some interesting science.
Cameras will monitor everything - let's just hope they don't behave like animals!