The Bion-M1 space capsule launched into space on April 19 atop a Russian-built Soyuz 2 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On Sunday (May 19) the capsule came back to Earth, guided with the help of a parachute system to the ground in Russia's Orenburg region. It is the longest animal astronaut mission of its kind.
Space officials reportedly discovered that more than half of the 45 mice aboard the spacecraft died during the flight, theAFP reported. All eight Mongolian gerbils and many of the other critters also did not survive, but all 15 geckos did survive, the news service reported. [See photos of the Bion-M1 space animals mission]
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