“Unfortunately all the geckos died.”
So read the brief but emotion-laden statement from the Roskosmos space agency just a few hours ago.
The Foton-M4 satellite which had been orbiting the Earth while the one male gecko entertained four lady geckos returned in one piece on Monday.
As did its animal and insect cargo, except “that according to preliminary data it is becoming clear that the geckos froze”.
The mission was to test the effect of weightlessness on the lizards’ sex lives and how it affected their ability to reproduce. A live cam of the party room was being watched around the clock by Russian scientists.
It was probably how they wanted to go.
Good news for the fruit flies though, who not only survived the journey and landing, but also had successfully reproduced.