The geckos had been on a two-month mission launched to facilitate research on the effects of zero-gravity on reproductive systems.
Last week, Roscosmos announced abruptly that the mission had reached completion earlier than anticipated — after a mere 44 days.
The satellite landed in Orenburg on Monday afternoon amid widespread speculation on the crew of tiny cosmonauts' survival prospects. Upon cracking open the hatch, rescue teams discovered a tragic scene.
That choice may seem quotidian next to Oxford's buzzworthy selection, selfie, but the editors argue that their word embodies the culture of 2013 in its own way. "Our data shows … that many of the most looked-up words in the dictionary are words that reflect the big ideas that are lurking behind the headlines," writes Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski in a statement. The editors link science, a word users looked up 176% more than last year, to political discussions of climate change and education, as well as Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, criticized as a misrepresentation of science.