The lizards that signed up for this mission thought it would a simple galactic sex vacation on a Russian satellite. Then something went horribly, horribly wrong.
Russia launched a Foton-M4 research satellite on July 19 that contained plants, insects and five geckos. The goal of this mission was to observe the effects of zero gravity on lizard reproduction. After a few perfect days of lizard sex observation, the satellite stopped responding to orders from mission control.
Now Russia cannot control the satellite's movement, but they can still get data about the lizards. Oleg Voloshin of Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems confirmed that “the scientific equipment used for the experiments operated properly...The current tasks have been fulfilled.” At least the scientists have something to watch while they try to re-implement the satellite’s flight program.
It’s hard to imagine the stress these geckos must be enduring right now. Let’s hope they remember their training and stay focussed on completing their mission’s objectives.