Russia Loses Control of Zero-Gravity Gecko Sex Satellite

Two geckos


updated 07/25/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET

originally published 07/25/2014 AT 4:00 PM ET

They say in space, no one can hear you scream, but that’s not the case if you’re one of five geckos having sex on a rogue Russian satellite.

The geckos were sent to space on July 19, as part of a mission to test the effects of low gravity on plant and animal life, particularly the geckos’ sexual behavior.

Unfortunately, the Russian space agency lost control of the Photon-M4 satellite shortly after it made its way into orbit. As the Moscow-based news agency Interfax reported Thursday, mission control suspects a problem in the satellite’s engine caused it to stop responding to commands from Earth.

If the Russians are unable to regain control of the satellite, it will steadily plummet back down to a crash-landing on Earth, though the Guardian says that the geckos would likely die of starvation before that occurred.

The good news is that any desperate last-minute mating between the geckos will still be picked up by scientists back home, who are reportedly receiving video footage and data from the orbiting orgy.

Even with the scientists watching, the geckos haven’t been shy about getting freaky. A spokesman for Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological Problems confirmed that the tiny lizards are boldly going where no gecko has before: “The experiment with the geckos is working according to the program.”

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