Russian Space Experiment in Reproduction Goes Wrong
A brave Russian Cosmonaut that all will miss.
A while ago the Russian Federal Space Agency decided to start an experiment on how 0G effects genitalia in various species. I know that sounds kind of funny, but it's actually pretty important work. You see, if we decide to do some deep space colonization, we need to know whether we can procreate in space or not. One of the plans for deep space exploration is to build a ship capable of holding a few hundred people and to have those people reproduce on the way to a planet designated for colonization. If it turns out that humans cannot reproduce in no gravity, then we will not be able to do this.
To see if we may be able to or not, the RFSA came up with the experiment "gecko-f4" to send a craft into space with Geckos and Fruit Flies to see if they could successfully copulate and impregnate each other. The experiment was well though out and planned, and the reason they used both Geckos and Fruit Flies was primarily for the size of their organs (i.e. is bigger better or not). The craft was also equipped with cameras so that the procreation could be viewed in case there were issues that needed to be documented. However, the remote controlled craft ceased responding to commands shortly after it was launched.
On September 1st, the craft came back down to Earth and it was discovered that the geckos did not survive. The leading theory as to why is because there may have been issues with the Life Support system on the craft. The results of the experiment are considered to be inconclusive due to the death of the geckos, but there is good news. The fruit flies that were included in the experiment not only survived, but were successfully able to reproduce.
Our thoughts go out to the families of the Geckos who were lost. I can only hope that they had decent life insurance.