Science
Matt McClain / The Washington Post / Getty Images

Lust in space: Russians lose control of gecko sex satellite

Lizards were sent into orbit as part of study into effects of weightlessness on sexual intercourse

Russian scientists are attempting to re-establish control of a satellite in which a team of geckos may be copulating as part of a study into the effects of weightlessness on lizard mating.

On Thursday, the team behind the research confirmed that the vessel was not responding to commands, potentially leaving the reptiles to their out-of-this-world sexual intercourse while video footage continues to beam down to Earth.

Research satellite Foton-M4 was launched into space on July 19. The geckos are among several species on board — including insects and flora — that are part of a series of biology experiments by Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological Problems on the effects of weightlessness on mating.

But a glitch has resulted in the scientists losing control of the satellite’s engine, Russian space firm Progress confirmed to the nation’s Interfax news agency on Thursday.

Progress is busily working to re-establish a connection with the operating system — currently on autopilot — before all hope is lost.

The scientists said they are still able to watch video footage of the mating geckos and observe how an absence of gravity affects their sexual behavior.

There was no immediate word from the scientists behind the experiment on Thursday as to whether the geckos had successfully copulated as Foton-M4 hurtled through space. 

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