Russia's space agency says it's restored full contact with an orbiting satellite containing biological experiments, including one designed to see how geckos have sex and reproduce in zero gravity. The geckos are apparently OK. "The link is established, the prescribed commands have been conducted in accordance with the plan," Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko said in a statement Saturday.
The two-month-long Foton-M4 mission was launched on July 19 to study microgravity's effect on geckos as well as fruit flies, mushrooms and microbes. One male gecko was put in with four females, and a camera was set up to record how the lizards mated. The video, and the geckos' eggs, will be examined after the satellite returns to Earth. RT.com quoted Ostapenko as saying he expected 90 percent of the mission's objectives to be met. The satellite had stopped responding to commands several days ago, and RT.com says Roscosmos is investigating whether the failure was due to an internal glitch or damage from space debris.
Oleg Voloshin / IBMP
The Foton-M4 satellite sent up five Mauritius ornate day geckos to see how they mated in zero gravity.
— Alan Boyle, NBC News
First published July 26 2014, 4:54 PM