Sad news from Russia's Foton-M4 satellite. The spacecraft on which a group of geckos spent a few weeks trying to get it on in microgravity returned to Earth, as planned, earlier today. The only problem? The lizards were frozen solid.
As you might recall, there was some drama a few days after the space-bound gecko sex vessel was launched into orbit when Russia's mission control lost contact. Luckily, they eventually re-established a link and put the satellite into its proper orbit, allowing scientists to continue carrying out their research program.
But today, when the Russians opened up the capsule, what they found was a bunch of dead geckos. PhysOrg reports:
"Unfortunately all the geckos died," said the Roskosmos space agency in a brief statement.
Interfax news agency later quoted an expert that worked on the mission as saying "that according to preliminary data it is becoming clear that the geckos froze" after their heating system failed.
Still the mission wasn't a complete failure. The fruit flies that accompanied the sex geckos survived and did manage to successfully reproduce in space. The invertebrates win again.
Header image: Madagascar Day Gecko via Frank Wouters/Wikimedia Commons