Tag Archives: Space Exploration

Russian Sex Geckos Die in Orbit

Geckos in Space

Russia’s space agency has confirmed that the five geckos, launched into space to test the effects of zero gravity on gecko sex, have died.

The deaths of the sex geckos were discovered when the Foton-M4 satellite carrying the geckoes returned to earth on Monday – with five dead geckos. With four female lizards and one male on board, Russian scientists had hoped to learn how zero gravity would affect the sexual habits of geckos (a very important study). Instead they learned that geckos don’t fare so well in space. The space lizards appeared to have frozen to death after a heating system malfunction, but the Russians won’t confirm an official cause of death.

“We can say with confidence that they died at least a week before the landing because their bodies were partly mummified,” said an official from Russia’s Institute of Medical and Biological Problems.

John Oliver must be devastated. Back in July, when Russia first reported that it had lost contact with the satellite, John Oliver issued a call on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” to save the five gecko cosmonauts. With the hashtag #GoGetThoseGeckos, Oliver urged viewers to write letters to Russian President Vladimir Putin to rescue the lost sex geckos.

On a positive note, the Russians listened to the pleas of the public and they did go get those geckos. But on a not-s0-positive note, they were dead.  #fuckthegeckosdied

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Next Up: Russia Plans to Annex the Moon

Soviet Cities on the Moon

Turns out annexing Crimea was just practice for something far more important – taking over the Moon.

Nearly a half-century after the US won the Space Race, Russia is ready to take another crack at lunar exploration. Determined to start (and win!) round two of the Space Race, Russia is planning to put a manned colony on the Moon by 2030 and is racing to dispatch the first robotic rovers to explore the Moon’s surface within two years. And why not? Putin’s already snatching up old Soviet territories, might as well throw the Moon in there too.

According to a leaked draft of a government document that Izvestia newspaper claims to have obtained, the first stage of the ambitious “Colonize the Moon” project may start as soon as two years from now.

The Concept of Russian Lunar Program outlines a three-step plan toward manning the Moon.

  • Step 1: Send four automated rovers to the Moon and check out the Moon’s natural resources.
  • Step 2: Send manned missions to the Moon’s orbit and check things out further.
  • Step 3: Send cosmonauts to the selected site on the moon’s surface to survey the area and set the infrastructure for an initial colony using local resources. Also, set up an Earth monitoring observatory… possibly entitled the Kosmic-intelligence Gathering Building.

The leaked document stressed the importance of speedy lunar exploration, saying Russia needs to step up their game because “leading space powers will expand and establish their rights to convenient lunar footholds to ensure future opportunities for practical use” in the next 20-30 years. And while the program envisages some kind of international cooperation on the project, it emphasized that the “independence of the national lunar program must be ensured regardless of the conditions and the extent of the participation in it by foreign partners.”

In other words, Russia, and Russia alone, will claim dominance over the Moon. Although *technically* America already dominated the Moon back in 1969 with the clever use of a flag – and if Russia ever tried to remove the flag, well then…. I guess NASA would get some more funding?

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China Goes to the Moon, Takes a Few Pictures

China Moon Jade Rabbit

They’re about a decade (or five) too late, but China’s first moon rover, the Jade Rabbit, has made it to the moon.

The successful mission marks the world’s first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades. The 140-kilogram “Jade Rabbit” rover separated from the much larger landing vehicle early Sunday, after the unmanned Chang’e 3 space probe touched down on the moon.

China’s Jade Rabbit rover, named after the pet of Chang’e, the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology, sent back its first pictures from the moon on Sunday. The cameras produced some clear images – mainly of the lander and the rover taking pictures of each other.

Although China lags a fair bit behind the United States and Russia in terms of technology and experience, their space program is an enormous source of pride for the country.

The successful mission reflects “the new glory of China to scale the peaks in world science and technology areas,” China’s space agency, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said in a statement, adding it was committed to exploring and using space “for peaceful purposes.”

The landing marks a major step forward in Beijing’s ambitious military-run space program, making China the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing. Future plans include a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually sending a human to the moon. But the immediate next step is to rip out the American flag and plant their own, sparking an increase in NASA funding which will lead to another space race.

But space race aside, I guess it makes sense that China is so eager to explore the moon. After all, it’s easier to breathe on the moon than in Shanghai.

Via: AFP

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Iran Wants to Launch a Cat into Space… And Other News

Space Cat cat into space

Today in cat news, Iran has decided to launch a Persian cat into space. Why should monkeys have all the fun?

Don’t worry – the animal rights group PETA, is allll over this “cat into space” sh*t.

“Iran’s archaic experiment… is a throwback to the primitive techniques of the 1950s,” the animal rights group’s spokesman Ben Williamson said.

In February, Iran insisted it successfully sent a monkey outside Earth’s atmosphere and returned it safely. But the photos Iran released raised a few international questions about whether the same animal was shown in pre and post launch images. Interestingly enough, earlier this year President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted to be Iran’s first astronaut. Maybe they should just send him instead of the cat… CBC News

Naval YardTragedy at the old Naval Yard today. 12 people are dead after Aaron Alexis, a man in his 30s from Texas, went on a shooting rampage at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command. Officials aren’t totally sure how many shooters were involved: but one thing is for sure – Aaron Alexis is dead. Washington police say there may be two other shooters at large, both wearing military-style uniforms, so I’m sure DC is a safe place to be tonight… President Obama gave the usual tragedy press conference, called the shooting a “cowardly act” and vowing that the people responsible will be “held accountable.” ABC News

Ban Ki-moonThe United Nations has officially confirmed what everybody (except Putin) already knew: sarin gas had been “unequivocally and objectively” used in Syria. The U.N stopped short of naming names though, so the debate over which side ordered the chemical weapons attack rages on. The States has insisted President Bashar al-Assad’s goonies were behind it, while Russia and Syria have insisted the rebels were responsible. But one thing is for sure: UN leader Ban Ki-moon is pissed. Ban called on the Security Council to impose “consequences” for any failure by Assad to stick to the Russian-led plan to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpile. BBC News

Colorado FloodWell that escalated quickly… The number of people missing in Colorado’s deadly flooding has jumped to 1,200 as the rain keeps on coming. The death toll climbed to 6 over the weekend after a 80-year-old woman was swept away in the torrent. Death toll aside, 17,494 homes had been damaged, 1,502 homes destroyed, and 11,700 people (and hundreds of pets!) evacuated due to the flooding. The Denver Post

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