1. This is not a drill. Moscow has lost control of a satellite full of geckos sent into space to take part in a sex experiment.
The satellite launched last weekend on a 60-day mission with four females and one male lizard on board.
2. The reptiles are being used in a weightless experiment with scientists observing their mating activities at zero gravity.
Mission control lost contact with the Foton-M4 research vessel after its first few orbits of Earth but apparently the experiments onboard are continuing to take place.
3. Institute of Biomedical Problems press secretary Oleg Voloshin told RIA Novosti: “The biological experiments started as soon as the satellite was launched.”
“The scientific equipment used for the experiments operates properly.
“We receive the telemetry data from the spacecraft and analyse it. The current tasks have so far been fulfilled.”
4. Meanwhile, experts are continuing to try and restore communication with the satellite, mission control has confirmed.
A spokesperson is quoted as telling Russian news agency Itar-Tass:
“We currently receive telemetric data from Foton, however, we cannot transmit commands from the Earth to the satellite so far, that is we have only one-way connection. Experts are now trying to restore the communication.”
As well as the geckos, the satellite is carrying numerous plants and insects as part of the biological experiments.