No, the Russians didn’t launch any ‘Gecko sex satellites’

Contrary to popular reporting, the Russian Foton M4 (popularly incorrectly spelt “photon m4”) was not carrying a bunch of geckos in order to study the effects space travel might have on their sexual proclivities, activities, or productivity. The “Foton-M” spacecraft and the various missions (of which M4 was one) have involved multiple experiments and tests ranging from materials sciences to the effects of space travel on living systems. The current mission, like previous ones, involved dozens of tests/experiments/missions. Yes, it was carrying geckos. No, this was not because Russian scientists are so bored, well-funded, and idiotic that they thought “I wonder how geckos might ‘do it’ in space…Let’s spend untold millions and years of research to find out.” However, in an unbelievable display of bad journalism, the “gecko sex satellite” story has been repeated by both mainstream media and strewn across the blogosphere, proving once again that when it comes to science, mainstream media is no better than the tabloids.

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