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Mice, Newts Retrieved After a Month Orbiting Earth At 345 Miles Up

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the eye-of-space-newt-was-called-for dept.

Earth 85

The Associated Press (as carried by the Washington Post) reports that a living payload of newts and mice has been retrieved after a month orbiting earth in a Russian space capsule at an altitude of 345 miles, far higher than the ISS's orbital distance of 205 miles. Says the story: "Fewer than half of the 53 mice and other rodents who blasted off on April 19 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome survived the flight, Russian news agencies reported, quoting Vladimir Sychov, deputy director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems and the lead researcher. Sychov said this was to be expected and the surviving mice were sufficient to complete the study, which was designed to show the effects of weightlessness and other factors of space flight on cell structure. All 15 of the lizards survived, he said. The capsule also carried small crayfish and fish."

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Cause of death (4, Interesting)

Jerry Smith (806480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769473)

Radiation? Life support system malfunctions? Launch related problems? Bit more details would make it interesting.

Re:Cause of death (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769531)

What about lizard related problems?

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769671)

How do you feed 53 mice and 15 lizards for a month in space? It turns out you don't have to.

Re:Cause of death (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769595)

They failed to place their seat backs and tray tables in a fully upright position during takeoff and landing.

Re:Cause of death (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769647)

and didn't turn their cell phones off.

Re:Cause of death (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769649)

Yeah, and one of the mice was playing Angry Cats on his smartphone during the launch, causing devastating problems due to WiFi.

Re:Cause of death (1)

torsmo (1301691) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771513)

See, this is what happens when you don't turn your cell phones off in a flight. You get dead rodents, Gojira and cretinous former presidential candidates.

Re:Cause of death (3, Interesting)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769629)

I wonder if it's far enough to get out of the earths magnetosphere. By the way if they didn't mention problems with the experiment its probably safe to assume everything went up and operated fine. Don't know till someone releases a paper in a journal though.

I would wager bone loss in the mammals and weightlessness are the biggest contributing factors to death/disease. It could have been something else like mice getting upset and turning on each other because of their environment. Even simple non aggressive animals like frogs can become aggressive due to boredom and environmental reasons.

Perhaps a lower metabolism benefited the lizards/newts. Time to RTFA =)

Re:Cause of death (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769715)

I wonder if it's far enough to get out of the earths magnetosphere.

No. Let me put it this way, on the day side, Earth's magnetosphere extends more than twice as far as geosynchronous satellites. On the night side it extends far, far past the Moon (which will encompass the Moon if it happens to be there at the time).

Re:Cause of death (-1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770011)

... the Moon if it happens to be there at the time ...

Every time I've checked, the moon has been in orbit around the Earth. Do you know something the rest of us don't?

We aren't really just actors on the Truman Show, are we?

Re:Cause of death (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770267)

Do you know something the rest of us don't?

Nope, he knows something that you don't.

The Moon isn't always on the nightside of Earth.

Re:Cause of death (1)

pv2b (231846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771899)

The moon isn't always at the night side of the Earth.

Re:Cause of death (0)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770445)

Thanks, that is informative.

Re:Cause of death (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770613)

Bone loss?

They where up there for a month!!!!

How should bone loss cause a death? Especially as you don't really need your bones in space ...

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43775251)

You need them for a parachute landing, which is rather violent.

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43773683)

Perhaps a lower metabolism benefited the lizards/newts

They sent Gingrich into space? They should have left that lizard up there!

Re:Cause of death (1)

EdZ (755139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769631)

Bit more details would make it interesting.

They've only just retrieved the thing! Modern equipment is good, but we can't just wave a magic wand/tricorder over some dead mice and get a diagnosis yet.

Re:Cause of death (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769787)

Bit more details would make it interesting.

They've only just retrieved the thing! Modern equipment is good, but we can't just wave a magic wand/tricorder over some dead mice and get a diagnosis yet.

They're dead, Jim

Re:Cause of death (3, Informative)

multisync (218450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769651)

Hard landing in Kazakhstan desert would be another possibility.

Re:Cause of death (2)

Yomers (863527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771457)

Quoting TFA "landed slightly off course but safely in a planted field near Orenburg, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Moscow". Thats indeed near Kazakhstan border.

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43773647)

Precisely. We actually have only limited data on how much of the damage recorded on astronauts/test animals/cell cultures is due to microgravity, as opposed to both the (very rough) takeoff and the (worse) landing.

That was the coolest thing about the space shuttle, despite its 20 degree glide angle (and hence also somewhat bumpy landing). We'd have had essentially no data without it and I think it justified the enormous cost of the program.

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769705)

That's crazy talk

Re:Cause of death (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769819)

Bit more details would make it interesting.

They were delicious [theamberwolf.com]

Re:Cause of death (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770073)

Radiation? Life support system malfunctions? Launch related problems? Bit more details would make it interesting.

Also, how did they dispose of the dead mice, and mouse poop? If the dead and decaying mice, and mouse poop, were floating around with the living mice, that would not be a healthy environment, and may explain some of the subsequent deaths.

Re:Cause of death (2)

turp182 (1020263) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772421)

Wish I had karma, you just described a nightmare situation, I wouldn't want to be the one cleaning up the capsule after the trip.

Re:Cause of death (5, Interesting)

capebretonsux (758684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770955)

Without a doubt, heart attacks. I work with lab mice every day, and they're very high strung creatures. When we order mice from a supply house they often pack in one or two 'extra' mice in the event a death occurs in transit. This is just regular shipping via truck/plane, so the stresses of going through a launch into orbit being so much more I'd expect a high mortality rate.

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43772185)

Yes, because these mice knew that space exploration is much more important than what their cousins are doing in other labs, such as boring cancer research.
That, and the countdown, was too much for some of them and they basically died because of too much responsability!

Re:Cause of death (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772629)

By "stress" he means "physiological stress", like the acceleration involved in launching. Not stress as in "boy, do I have a tight deadline".

Re:Cause of death (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772547)

Proof that geckos are bad ass!

Re:Cause of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43772673)

Without a doubt, heart attacks.

Mice don't die from heart attack. Even atherosclerosis-prone mice on specific diet. (Zhou et al.; Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2001;21(9):1470-6)

Re:Cause of death (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43772161)

Radiation? Life support system malfunctions? Launch related problems? Bit more details would make it interesting.

The PhysOrg [phys.org] article has a few snippets information:

The animals on board the Bion-M craft died because of equipment failure or due to the stresses of space, scientists said.....But at the end of the experiment, "less than half of the mice made it—but that was to be expected," Sychov told Russian news agencies. "Unfortunately, because of equipment failure, we lost all the gerbils."

Re:Cause of death (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772529)

I think the Lizards ate half the mice.

No Amphibians Listed in Article (1)

Da5id H. (135070) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769487)

That headline should read "Mice, Lizards...".

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (4, Informative)

idji (984038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769503)

No LIZARDS on this spacecraft. Newts [wikipedia.org] are amphibians!!!!

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (3, Informative)

dtremenak (893336) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769625)

The animals on the spacecraft were geckos, which certainly are lizards. There were no newts launched on Bion-M1, nor any other kind of amphibian.

Sources:
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1304/19bionm1/#.UZlBX39dAbE [spaceflightnow.com]
http://www.space.com/20732-russia-launches-animals-space-bion-m1.html [space.com]

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769655)

The gecko's name is Newt. And he thinks he's an amphibian. And I love him.

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43774837)

I thought he thought he was a former congressman

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770499)

But they turned into newts! Science has met magic.

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43772167)

Some of them got better.

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (0)

McGruber (1417641) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770161)

Newts [wikipedia.org] are amphibians!!!!

Not all of them; this newt is a cretin: A cretin named newt [wikipedia.org]

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770703)

Actually the original article says lizards, not newts (which are not lizards), so who knows where the OP came up with newts... perhaps they have confused the two their whole lives.

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (2)

shikaisi (1816846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771879)

who knows where the OP came up with newts...

Astronewts?

Re:No Amphibians Listed in Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769663)

oh my

TIMOTHY LICK MY NEWTERED BALLS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769741)

SUCK MY DONG, TIMMYBOY. Time and time again, this MORON gets it wrong. Tell us, timmyboy, HOW did you finagle this job?

You sick BUTT BANDITO!

Re:TIMOTHY LICK MY NEWTERED BALLS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770773)

Yoda Ate My Balls [patrickgosch.com]

You're welcome.

Lets's get this out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769493)

I for one welcome our immortal space lizard overlods.

There. Now people can discuss freely.

Incredible! (5, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769499)

Can you believe these animals survived? Who knows what they'll try next, maybe a dog or chimp! One day, humans might even be able to go into space!

Re:Incredible! (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769509)

A Jimp? No Senator, a Jimp, a Jimpanzee.

Re:Incredible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769723)

A gimp.

Chinks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769745)

A "Jimp" is a Japanese "astronaut" right? Everyone know the Chinks do things on the cheap.

Re:Chinks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770763)

the appropriate term is 'japonaught' or 'astronese'.

and chinks are chinese, you racist

Re:Incredible! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769653)

One day, humans might even be able to go into space!

One day, the IRS might even be able to go into space!

One way.

The newt was actually a human . . . he got better.

Re: Incredible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43779519)

man has actualy been living in space

I wonder (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769665)

if you launch a thousand of octopi in a capsule far off... Would that spawn the Orz?

Re:I wonder (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770071)

I'm substantially more upset about the Mycon, who are occasionally hostile no matter what you say to them. Watch those spores...

Science: Space Lizards Superior to Squishy Mammals (5, Funny)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769685)

Another victory for the Cardassian Empire!

Just my intuition.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769687)

....but the Fish and crayfish didn't survive then!

Re:Just my intuition.... (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769739)

....but the Fish and crayfish didn't survive then!

There's no information given about the chordates and arthropoda in question.

That information might be classified.

Re:Just my intuition.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770241)

sadly, the water floated out of the gold fish bowl.

Capsule loading checklist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769759)

Fewer than half of the 53 mice and other rodents who blasted off on April 19 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome survived the flight, Russian news agencies reported, quoting Vladimir Sychov, deputy director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems and the lead researcher. Sychov said this was to be expected and the surviving mice were sufficient to complete the study, which was designed to show the effects of weightlessness and other factors of space flight on cell structure. All 15 of the lizards survived, he said. The capsule also carried small crayfish and fish.

Capsule loading checklist:
Mice? Da!
Fish? Da!
Towel? Nyet.

The lack of towel obviously caused many mice to panic, and die!!!!! (apologies to THHGTTG)

Lizards on a Space Capsule (2)

Livius (318358) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769781)

Enough is enough! I have had it with these m____________ lizards on this m____________ space capsule!

Re:Lizards on a Space Capsule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43769891)

Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking lizards on this motherfucking space capsule!

FTFY

Re:Lizards on a Space Capsule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770167)

If you feel the need to self censor, you probably should just not say it. This is the internet, not fucking Sesame Street.

Re:Lizards on a Space Capsule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770223)

What possible, idiotic reasoning would go into self censoring yourself on the internet?

You must be one hell of a self-righteous hypocrite (or a very subtle troll).

Re:Lizards on a Space Capsule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43772683)

It's an oddity of North American media that polite content (music, TV shows, films) is often just the impolite content with the swearing/nudity/whatever blanked out. If he was born in the '90s that might be what he intuitively feels a reference to SOAP should "sound" like from years of exposure.

'Cause obviously gangster rap is regular middle of the road drive-time music if you just mute out the swears.

Re:Lizards on a Space Capsule (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43775987)

Maybe they despise profanity but couldn't resist the joke. I don't really enjoy it myself.

Mice and Newts! (1)

amightywind (691887) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769791)

Aren't you glad we pay $3 billion a year to pay for this horse sh1t facility and bolster our enemy's (Russia) space program?

How many died of boredom vs bat'leth fights? (3, Funny)

kfsone (63008) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769927)

Also, given their skill in escapology, how many mice actually managed to make it off the ship?

Reportedly the capsule name was "NIMH" (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year and a half ago | (#43781391)

I smell sequel!

I misread this (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43769937)

At first glance, I thought it said "Mice, Nerds Retrieved After a Month Orbiting Earth"...

Re:I misread this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770051)

They already know how a nerds cell structure changes in zero gravity. Some guy wrote a book [wikipedia.org] about it.

Silver lining (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770037)

Half of them survived the trip, so you can feel good about it. No mention that these creatures have been/will be slaughtered for studying them "on a cellular level".

Re:Silver lining (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770139)

You can't talk. You harmed seven puppies just to make a Slashdot post!
These guys are actually doing real science from these deaths.

Re:Silver lining (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770163)

Yup and I'm coming up on 9000 posts soon. Do the math! Actually I don't really harm any puppies, I just think it's a very politically INcorrect thing to say, because everyone loves puppies! Oh btw I have 2 dogs, a maltese and a miniature french poodle.

Re:Silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43772693)

I don't think anyone's naive enough to think that research animals were going to be given medals and sent off to live with Buzz Aldrin in the astronaut retirement village.

Douglas Adams would say . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770075)

. . . The (surviving) mice were furious!

Newt in orbit (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43770149)

Didn't he want to found a moon colony by the end of his second term?

Re:Newt in orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43779345)

Yes he did. I am just surprised that he's in any physical condition to travel into orbit. Last time I looked, he was carrying a lot of extra pounds. In addition, I am surprised that he went with mice. He usually prefers to be in the company of rats.

Obama's Headache Gone Orbital (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43770819)

With the unforced error of the WH 'council' that the IRS 'trouble' were known weeks in advance is the Major Malfunction Headache for Obama in this week.

Representatives and Senators of Congress may now be 'connecting the dots' in the time-line of the IRS vs USA Citizens.

Why has/was Obama silent on this matter ?

Prior to the Election 2012 Obama by back-door orchestrated the IRS to Target 'Opponents' in the Election 2012 run-up in Key States as Ohio.

Obama knew that the IG would be conducting 'per usual' investigation in early-2013.

Obama Chose to remain silent knowing that the IG 'might' or 'might not' interview the 'key' employee of IRS.

If the 'Worst' happened, according to Obama's Calculus, it would be a 'Tempest In A TeaPot' and forgotten by January 2014.

In Obama's Calculus, 'So Fuck'n What If I Broke Any Law !', 'So Fuck'n What If I Don't Have Any Ethics !', 'So Fuck'n What If I Have Not An Ounce Of Morals For Big White !'

Let me give this in a simple metaphor:

There is a golf course where we find Mr. Obama and Mr. Tiger Woods, ready for a 18 hole round of golf.

A flip of the coin designates Mr. Obama to proceed first.

Mr. Obama surveys the lane and the wind conditions then addresses the ball.

Mr. Obama swings and slices the ball in to the woods [Oh For The LOVE OF GOD FUCK].

Mr. Woods addresses the ball and launches it straight down the fairway !

Mr. Obama is clearly upset [Fuck'n Insane I Would Say].

Mr. Obama reaches into his club-bag and retrieves a Fire-Ax, where upon he kills Mr. Woods by hacking him to death.

The Secret Service are yet again called upon to clean up the mess that Mr. Obama has make of Mr. Woods.

Then after a long walk, Mr. Obama, with care, drops his ball into the hole of the green and declared Winner.

So the election of 2012 went. And now WE have to clean up the mess of Mr. Obama.

Ha ha.

Edges of Van Allen belts? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771363)

A while back I found a good chart of radiation levels and from memory 300 miles up was the point where radiation levels were too high for permanent human occupation. I wonder if this was the cause...

Lizards (1)

Cant use a slash wtf (1973166) | about a year and a half ago | (#43771713)

Of course the lizards survived. How else do you think our glorious alien-lizard overlords survived the journey here?

WOMUMP (1)

Rufty (37223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772335)

The Wortlethorpe MUnicipal Moon Program was putting mice on rockets decades ago - I read about this [grahamoakley.co.uk] when I was a kid.

It's just another Bion / Biocosmos flight. (2)

Catmeat (20653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43772727)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bion_(satellite) [wikipedia.org] It's the 12th in a series of missions that have been (infrequently) flown since the 70's.

What's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43773141)

So what's the point of this experiment, and what did they learn?

Simulated gravity...? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43774395)

When are they going to do some experiments with centrifugal simulated gravity?

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