According to this MSN news post, a Russian satellite containing some mushrooms, lizards and flies might come back to Earth in a hard, fiery, non-survivable way. The lizards are geckos and the flies are the California favorite: fruit flies. The mushrooms are just mushrooms. All of the creatures are probably oblivious to the unexpected end of their mission. The Huffington post notes the creatures will probably die of starvation before their satellite burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Why would the Russians put geckos in space? Is it to parody a Simpson’s episode? Were they trying to emulate the infamous NASA ant farm experiments (which, by the way, they are still doing)? No, the answer is, sex, of course. Someone somewhere in the Russian scientific community is very interested in the sex life of the geckos in a micro-gravity, or “weightless,” environment. There is so much interest, that the scientists have actually been watching the geckos over a video feed from the satellite (to their surprise, they discovered the geckos were done when both lit up miniature cigarettes;-)).
The satellite the “lizards of love” inhabit is a recently launched Foton-M 4. It was supposed to be out in space for six months before falling through the Earth’s atmosphere to land safely for scientists to interview the geckos.
And while the operators can’t seem to get control of the satellite, apparently the actions that the satellite is supposed to do are all automatically being done. So the satellite is working, kind of. The satellite operators say they are receiving data from the satellite confirming things are working as they should. However, they can’t send any commands to the satellite, which means they can’t command the satellite to make orbital adjustments or even send commands to have the satellite return to Earth safely.
Perhaps it’s a good thing the geckos aren’t coming back. Did you know that most lizards returning from space end up subjugating humanity and using us for their protein needs? While posing as our friends?
Hopefully the geckos are insured…