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Russians Lose the Control of Gecko Sex Satellite

Hallo Gecko

Image credit: Schub@, “Hallo Gecko!” via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Not a week after its satellite- Foton-M was launched; Russian researchers has lost control of this satellite with various organisms on aboard, for example, five geckos was carried for  testing the impact of weightlessness on mating.

The Russian satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 19, but the Federal Space Agency said in its press release a week later that it failed to respond to mission control commands.

But even in this case, other systems are under normal operation, since the satellite is still orbiting on autopilot. Therefore, Russian scientists are working very hard to re-establish an effective link with the operating system to make sure that it could return to Earth in a controlled way. Unluckily, its fate is now in doubt.

It is reported that the scientists hosting the study with Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological Problems, are still capable of watching closely on the frisky behavior of geckos on the satellite and might be able to salvage some information on how sexual behavior is affected. But it is unconfirmed whether these geckos had done the deed or not to the expectation of the scientists.

Apart from such experiments, Foton-M was also used for testing the growth of crystals in microgravity to look for various applications such as the generation of semiconductors and biomedical products.

It is not surprising that the setback happened to the Russia’s space program for the first time, because in the previous year, a similar satellite called Bion-M also had a massive system failure which resulted in killing most animals on board including gerbils, fish and mice. In 2011, the Phobos-Grunt was observed to plummet back to Earth soon after it was launched.

Source:  The Moscow Times