Having apparently completed their space mission with enthusiastic haste, Russia's intrepid sex geckos have been granted an early homecoming, the Federal Space Agency said in a statement released Wednesday.
The cosmonaut-geckos have had a colorful journey through the cosmos aboard the Foton-M4 satellite. Having been deployed to space in the name of scientific research on the means by which zero-gravity impacts reproductive systems, their satellite lost contact with Russia's mission control shortly after launch.
Many feared they would spend the rest of their days floating aimlessly in space, procreating feverishly against the backdrop of rapidly depleting food and oxygen supplies.
Fortunately, communications were quickly restored and the lizards continued their mission according to plan.
The cosmonaut-geckos are part of a multi-purpose scientific mission to study the effects of zero-gravity of an organism's reproductive system, along with various material science experiments.
Originally scheduled to fly for 60 days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 19, space agency officials have announced that the mission will conclude on Sept. 1 after only 44 days in space, since the scientific research aboard the Foton-M4 satellite has been completed.
Earlier it was reported that there was no way to verify that the geckos had survived their ride into space, or if they were having sex, as the cameras aboard the spacecraft were not outfitted to transmit images back to earth. Instead, scientists must wait to recover the satellite and watch the tapes.