Russian mission control has lost contact with a satellite full of geckos slated to participate in a weightlessness experiment, in the latest setback for the country's space industry.
The Photon-M satellite and its reptile crew will probably be lost and fall from orbit in a few months unless specialists can re-establish communications with it, a source in the space industry told Interfax news agency. The four female and one male gecko on board will die from hunger within two and a half months or earlier if the craft's life-support systems are also disrupted, the source said.
According to the historian Davis Logsdon, who has been sifting through mounds of photographic evidence at the University of Minnesota, the nation apparently once held the view that investing in science and even math could yield accomplishments that would be a source of national pride.
While Logsdon has not developed a complete theory to explain the United States' pro-science stance during that era, he attributes some of it to the liberal views of the President at that time, Richard M. Nixon.