There’ve been a couple of posts on this site about the Russian scientists’ peculiar space mission involving geckos and flies. What first looked like a doomed mission became a satellite of hope for the geckos, as the Russian team regained control of the satellite in which the geckos where orbiting.
Alas, the gecko love story (the scientists were studying mating changes of geckos in in a micro-gravity environment) has finally, and tragically, come to an end. The satellite, a Foton-M, was successfully deorbited, landing on Earth safely. But, according to this Telegraph.uk post, the geckos didn’t survive the trip.
Another announcement, reported by Agence France Press (AFP), is that the geckos appeared to be frozen to death, as the satellite’s heating climate controls failed. And since these geckos aren’t native to areas with ice and snow, they probably didn’t know mating would’ve helped generate some heat–perhaps enough to survive. At the very least, they had some time to knit a few sweaters :-).
The flies, on the other hand, not only survived, but reproduced just fine. It’s probably too early to see what the scientists have learned from this little tragedy. Maybe their GEICO insurance rates will go up. In the meantime, the world will mourn their passing, and require time to shed the skin of sadness. Goodbye little geckos–you gave us amusement without even knowing you had.