"We realized there was a need for this kind of work," Jack Bergman, a behavioral pharmacologist at Harvard Medical School's McLean Hospital in Boston, told Discovery News.
"There's a long-standing commitment on the part of NASA to deep space travel and with that commitment comes a need for knowing what kinds of adverse effects deep space travel might have, what are the risks to astronauts," Bergman said. "That's not been well assessed."
The animals will not be destroyed after the experiments but will rather be cared for at a veterinary hospital, with no further experiments to be preformed on them.
Chimpanzees were sent into space prior to the first human attempts in order to test the Mercury capsules.
Source: Discovery News.