A Russian space capsule containing mice, sand eels, geckos, gerbils, snails, fish, plants and microflora has returned from a month long mission to
space. The Bion-M craft made a parachute-assisted landing on a field in the Orenberg Region, 1,200 kilometres southeast of Moscow on Monday. A mobile
laboratory and helicopters were dispatched to the landing zone for immediate testing of the effects of weightlessness on the animal's cell
The Bion-M capsule, attached to a Soyuz 2-1A rocket, was blasted into space from Kazakhstan on April 19 for a study examining the effects of
microgravity on the organism's skeleton, muscles, heart and nervous system. The rocket spun at an orbital height of 575 kilometres above Earth,
surpassing that of the International Space Station.
The different species in the 'space menagerie' were divided up into five different containers for the 30 day journey, which not all the animals
survived. An equipment failure killed eight gerbils onboard while half of the 53 mice also perished; all 15 geckos survived. Scientists hope the
findings will help pave the way to the building of a planned base on the moon for unmanned flights to Mars.
The survivors will be studied by laboratories in the US, Europe, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. In February 2010, Iran launched a mouse, two turtles
and some worms into space atop a rocket.
This is very interesting news. Here in the USA we are constricted on news of this type due to USA P.C.
I find this very fascinating and I can not wait to see a detailed report on the effects of earth orbit on these animals.
As controversial as these experiments may look to some people, I think they are vital in research and space exploration. I remember seeing a Soviet
short film with a dog "astronaut" that was strolling around on Mars in a little spacesuit
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