Russia’s space sex geckos return to Earth, all dead

Russia’s space sex geckos returned to Earth this weekend after what was supposed to be a 60-day orgy in orbit. Sadly none of the five intrepid sex geckos survived the mission.

The experiment was to test the effects of reproduction in zero gravity. Shortly after the rocket launched into orbit on July 19 Russia lost contact with the Foton-M4 spacecraft. Just days days later, however, the space program reestablished contact with the ship, and it was thought that all life support systems remained intact. However when the geckos returned to Earth this weekend, all five had died.

A member of the scientific commission told Interfax, “According to the preliminary information, it became clear the geckos froze. Most likely, this happened due to a failure of the equipment meant to ensure the temperature of the box with the animals.”

The source suggested that “as usually happens in such instances, [the space agency] will soon appoint an emergency commission to find out these animals’ cause of death.”

Not sure how many instances of failed gecko sex it takes to constitute a “usual” occurrence, but suffice it to say things are not going particularly well for the Russian space program. The dead geckos comes on the heels of two rocket crashes and one aborted mission since Putin announced a new investment in the program in May. I guess this about accurately reflects how things are going elsewhere in Russia these days.

On the upside, some fruit flies did survive and did reproduce in space. Though one imagines they usually get it on buzzing around mid-air anyways—hard to say if they’d even notice they were in zero gravity.