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Uncontrolled Orbital Lizard Sex Satellite
July 25, 2014 9:35 AM   Subscribe


 
Omg I'm already having dr pepper come out my nose...is it safe for my phone and nasal passages to actually read the article???!!!
posted by sio42 at 9:37 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


What happens after 60 days? I can't handle another Laika scenario.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:39 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I can picture the Daily Mail headline now: MILLIONS SPENT ON FAULTY ORBITAL LIZARD SEX. As it completely overlooks that the crew can still see into the biosatellite via camera feeds and instrumentation.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:40 AM on July 25


Indy band name: Lizard Sex Satellite.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:41 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


MILLIONS SPENT ON FAULTY ORBITAL LIZARD SEX

Worth every penny! Faulty orbital lizard sex is the hottest sex!
posted by aubilenon at 9:42 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Why ....why did they need to know how lizards have sex in zero-g? When does that come up?
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on July 25 [19 favorites]


Sounds like a prog-metal album.
posted by dudemanlives at 9:42 AM on July 25


Not for the lizards, but it would be cool if they were cast adrift into deep space. It would be the first time an animal from earth went off into the void and always come up in the future whenever the topic of space castaways arose.
posted by stbalbach at 9:43 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


...really? Nobody? Seriously?

*ahem *

Bum bum bum ....satellight of love.
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on July 25 [21 favorites]


Throw in some bad movies and you have the Satellite of Love.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:43 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Like minds, Whelk.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:44 AM on July 25


Lou Reed actually wrote a song about this. I believe it was called "Metal Machine Music, Part 1".
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:45 AM on July 25 [13 favorites]


On July 18th, Russian researchers launched a Foton-M satellite in hopes of study how reptiles reproduce in a zero-g environment.

Well, technically I suppose that is science.

I'm not sure it's how I'd spend my science budget, but then I would probably make a lot of choices differently than Russian leadership.
posted by Naberius at 9:46 AM on July 25


Millions of years from now their highly evolved descendants will return and subjugate the human race.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:48 AM on July 25 [14 favorites]


I really need to stop transposing 'lizard' and 'sex'.
posted by The Gaffer at 9:48 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Throw in some bad movies and you have the Satellite of Love.


Push the button, Frank.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:50 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Millions of years from now their highly evolved descendants will return and subjugate the human race.

In people suits.
posted by maryr at 9:50 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Millions of years from now their highly evolved descendants will return and subjugate the human race.

Planet of the Asps
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:54 AM on July 25 [10 favorites]


Hereafter, this incident shall become known as the Icke Event.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:54 AM on July 25 [13 favorites]


Why ....why did they need to know how lizards have sex in zero-g? When does that come up?

If it turns out that lizards are, for some reason, astonishingly fertile in zero-G, then maybe the larders of the generation ships of 100 years hence will be stocked with vats of lizards, just going at it 24-7 (or the space equivalent of 24-7)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:57 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Well I for one, welcome our madly-humping lizard overlords. Mouse-flavored lube, anyone?

Boom chicka wow wow
posted by zarq at 9:57 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


This sounds to me like a case of.. ereptile dysfunction

*drops mic, leaves room*
posted by phaedon at 9:58 AM on July 25 [47 favorites]


Throw in some bad movies and you have the Satellite of Love.

Now I'm wondering how the lizards eat and breathe, and other science facts.
posted by Copronymus at 10:00 AM on July 25 [23 favorites]


And thus our future enslavement by and eventual demise at the hands of our alien reptillian overlords begins. So planet of the Lizard People was Earth all along. You maniacs.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:00 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Why ....why did they need to know how lizards have sex in zero-g? When does that come up?

As a real honest to goodness SCIENTIST I have to say that sex in space is, indeed, a subject I have pondered.

I like the idea of something orbiting us, full of animals making love. If any of you would like to look up at the night sky, and sigh, and hold your loved ones close and give them tender kisses why gazing upon a satellite filled with geckos making uncontrolled love, here is the satellite tracker for the foton-m4 orbit path.

posted by barchan at 10:00 AM on July 25 [8 favorites]


fast forward 2 years…..I, for one, welcome our new Reptile overlords
posted by ShawnString at 10:00 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Millions of years from now their highly evolved descendants will return and subjugate the human race.

*throws back head, cackles madly*
posted by elizardbits at 10:02 AM on July 25 [19 favorites]


Something something Mansquito something something Megapiranha something something Irradiated Love Geckos from Outer Space
posted by Chutzler at 10:06 AM on July 25


What baffles me is why there are only 5 geckos. Not 4 or 6. Why? Are there lizard threesomes going on at this second? What gender is over-represented? Do geckos have some different genitalia thing going on like marsupials where the ladies have two vaginas? Or are they all females and someone in Russia is a really big fan of Jurassic Park? GECKO BIOLOGISTS OF METAFILTER, THIS SATELLITE IS YOUR BATSIGNAL.
posted by barchan at 10:06 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Can't they just send Jebediah Kerbal up there to fix it?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:07 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


What happens after 60 days? I can't handle another Laika scenario.

Well, the Фотон-М (which transliterates to foton and translates to photon) is a series of research satellites with reentry capability. So, the plan is to bring them back in 60 days and see what's what.

The issue with Fonton-M4 is that they've lost the ability to command it. If it's pre-programmed to reenter, then it might come back safe, but without the ability to control it, it might not.

If it isn't preprogramed to reenter and was counting on controllers to tell it to do so, it won't reenter until the orbit decays, which will likely be much longer than 60 days.

The fact that they're getting telemetry is hopeful -- the sat is alive and reporting status. The implication is a receiver failure of some sort. If it's an amp or antenna failure, they may be able to send commands using a much more powerful transmitter. If the receiver block has failed, then it becomes very difficult to impossible.

One way to prevent this is multiple control connections. The problem with that is cost - cost for the antennas and receivers, and you either pay more to launch the extra mass, or have to lose something else to make up for that extra mass. Long duration missions will have redundancies built in, because of the massive cost of launching them. Curiosity has two fully redundant control systems, three transmitters (1 X-Band, 2 UHF) and three antennas (a high gain and omni for X band, another omni for the UHF transmitters.) The UHF antennas can't send to Earth but can send high rate data to the MRO and Odyssey orbiters, the X-Band Omni can send direct to earth, but at very low data rates, something like 15-30 bits per second, and the X-Band High Gain can send 32Kbps direct to Earth.

But Curiosity cost $2.5 billion US. Losing the science because of a bad transmitter means you eat that entire cost. The X-Band, in fact, is the backup antenna. The UHF relay through MRO handles 2Mbps, through Odyssey, 256kbps, so that's primary path for returning science data, but if those transmitters failed, or MRO and Odyssey failed, then the X-Band high gain could get most of the science back to earth, albeit slower.

On a much cheaper short duration mission, redundancy costs money, and you can reach a point where you can build one very resilient and redundant probe -- or you can build 2-3 non-redundant probe and have the redundancy that way, and three times the science if they all work.

Quantity has a quality of its own.
posted by eriko at 10:08 AM on July 25 [19 favorites]


Why ....why did they need to know how lizards have sex in zero-g? When does that come up?

Maybe tracking when it comes up in zero-g is part of the research? We need ANSWERS, people!
posted by mosk at 10:09 AM on July 25


Can't they just send Jebediah Kerbal up there to fix it?

Nope, this satellite needs neither MOAR BOOSTERS nor MOAR STRUTS. So, it's really out of Jeb's skill set. And Bill Kerman is just dumb. This is a job for Bob Kerman.
posted by eriko at 10:10 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Freaky Sex Geckos damnit. Not love geckos in a sweet, sweet, love satellite. FREAKY SEX GECKOS IN FREAKY SEX SATELLITES.

You can tell because there are Russian scientists involved.
posted by aspo at 10:10 AM on July 25


I like the idea of something orbiting us, full of animals making love.

The Russians used to be trying to send up nuclear weapons. So, hey, they're making lizard love, not war.
posted by eriko at 10:12 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Fucking communist lizards

(Literally)

(Ok really leaving this time)
posted by phaedon at 10:13 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


The lizard orgy is just a red herring for the REAL purpose of the mission, training tiny lizard spacemen to run spacecrawls to sabotage surveillance satellites!
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


This is horny lizard to ground control...
posted by xarnop at 10:14 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


it won't reenter until the orbit decays, which will likely be much longer than 60 days.

I went and looked up the orbit. It's in a 258x557km@65° orbit. (160x345 miles.) That's a pretty low perigee. MAGSAT was launched into a 350x550km@78° polar orbit in 1979 and decayed 160 days later, FOTON-M4 has a perigee nearly 100km lower, so it's going to see a lot more drag.

The Apollo lunar missions would launch into a 160x160km orbit, which would decay in less than two days. But they only stayed in that orbit for a few hours to checkout the spacecraft, then they headed to the moon.

So, there's a really good chance that the satellite will actually reenter in about 60 days. The question it fly a safe reentry automatically, or come in sideways and burn up?
posted by eriko at 10:25 AM on July 25


Hard to believe this is the first/only use of the thereisnowaythiscouldgowrong tag.
posted by Mchelly at 10:25 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


I look forward to a bunch of dash cam videos of the satellite's re-entry. I picture a bright light, a fiery crash, and then POING! lizards bounding everywhere.
posted by maryr at 10:38 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I think surelythis should be the go-to tag for this kind of thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 AM on July 25


I feel like this wouldn't have been possible without the breathtaking, pioneering first steps of rocket frog.
posted by barchan at 10:43 AM on July 25


Do you want Godzillas? Because exposing lizards to space radiation is how you get Godzillas, people.

hell, yes, we want godzillas!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:45 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, Годзилла fucks you!
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on July 25


What happens after 60 days?

Nothing much.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:51 AM on July 25


I for one am appalled that the US has fallen so far behind in the Space Lizard race. We must restore our national honor immediately by sending up some lizards of our own. I'm thinking Bill Kristol and Ted Nugent, for starters.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:52 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


The study of Inanimate carbon rods animate carbon-based rods.
posted by inigo2 at 11:00 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


THERE MUST NOT BE A SPACE LIZARD GAP
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


I can only assume that the lizards decided to take the phone off the hook so they wouldn't be interrupted.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:06 AM on July 25 [8 favorites]


I wish we could say that this was the first time that we've lost control of Lizard Space-Sex. But we all remember the hyper-intelligent Komodo Dragons that resulted from the '81 space mission. We never should have created that lizard-only space station!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:12 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Kapustin Yar, we have a problem....

OR

Never mind the video, please send more bugs...

OR

Holy boiled beets in a bowl!....look at all them fucking lizards!

Meanwhile...

Stardate 55344.6: ...after slipping it's orbit in the early 21st Century the space craft attained a long, looping orbit in the LaGrange P1 of Halley's Comet. On it's 105th pass to Earth Orbit, Commander [hsss-ssppt-grr] (no human language equivalent) ordered his nano packs to survey the world for it's prospective value to the Saurian Emperor.
posted by mule98J at 11:14 AM on July 25


I am worried about the lizards. I hope that they are O.K.

Also, is that image from a video game, ROU_Xenophobe? Because if so, it's a video game I need to play.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:19 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Now I've been wondering if the Russians have a mathematical formula for how many lizards you can have in a satellite before they start eating each other. Sort of like Fibonacci and his rabbits, only for space and cannibalism.
posted by barchan at 11:21 AM on July 25


The weird thing is that so few astronauts and/or cosmonauts have tried having sex in space.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:24 AM on July 25


The only thing missing now is a soundtrack by The Jesus Lizard.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 11:25 AM on July 25


The weird thing is that so few astronauts and/or cosmonauts have tried having sex in space.

How few, exactly? And how do you know?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:35 AM on July 25


Sex in space
posted by barchan at 11:38 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


We are spinning, Moscow
We are spinning
My lizard lover and I
We are drifting away
On a vacuum of love
Clinging to each other
Out beyond time
We will raise our young
Beyond the stars
And return one day
Perfect and holy
To teach you a lesson
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:43 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


"Hey babe. We've got the sweetest hotel room, filled with food and the best view and sixty days to go wild. Turn off the phone."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Why ....why did they need to know how lizards have sex in zero-g? When does that come up?

It has been noted that most mad scientists are actually just mad engineers.

But not the people that designed this experiment! These are mad scientists!
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 12:25 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]




I hope they didn't put the gekkos in charge of their insurance plan.

rimshot
posted by wam at 12:39 PM on July 25


Why ....why did they need to know how lizards have sex in zero-g? When does that come up?

I'm guessing it has something to do with watching to know how things breed in space, combined with some quality of the gecko that makes them good candidates for this particular mission.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:42 PM on July 25


Plus it sounded cool in the proposal.
posted by mazola at 12:45 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Somebodies relative raises geckos, so kickbacks?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 PM on July 25


combined with some quality of the gecko

I'm guessing it's their adorable little feeties which stick to the wall.
posted by elizardbits at 2:22 PM on July 25 [7 favorites]


Although this hypothesis will be rendered null and void if the geckos are in tiny spacesuits.
posted by elizardbits at 2:25 PM on July 25


Although this hypothesis will be rendered null and void if the geckos are in tiny spacesuits.

Presumably they're wearing lizard-sized 2suits, the "garment designed to facilitate intimacy in weightless environments such as outer space, or on planets with low gravity".

I'll stop myself before I give in to my desire to quote half of that Wikipedia article.
posted by Copronymus at 2:46 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Come-a, come-a, come-a, come-a Cosmic chameleon!
posted by vitabellosi at 4:19 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Isn't this exactly the situation that running an inverted tachyon pulse through the main deflector dish was made for?
posted by dr_dank at 4:32 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Isn't this exactly the situation that running an inverted tachyon pulse through the main deflector dish was made for?

You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends.

It's so fucking sad I know exactly what you're talking about.
posted by phaedon at 4:44 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Isn't this exactly the situation that running an inverted tachyon pulse through the main deflector dish was made for?

No, that's for raccoons, this is different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:45 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Millions of years from now their highly evolved descendants will return and subjugate the human race.

In people suits.


There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:38 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


infinitywaltz: Also, is that image from a video game, ROU_Xenophobe? Because if so, it's a video game I need to play.

It's from Fallout: New Vegas, although that particular giant gecko has probably been further increased in size using the mod construction kit or the game console, as I don't recall any of that size menacing the Goodsprings saloon. It kinda looks like a post-apocalyptic homage to Dinosaur Comics.
posted by dmit at 1:24 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


The distances some will go for a little tail ...
posted by Chitownfats at 6:11 PM on July 26


Time for another "V" reboot. And I have some ideas about how it should start..
posted by meinvt at 9:46 AM on July 27




John Oliver and Last Week Tonight cover this in a fantastic segment:

#GoGetThoseGeckos We can do this, humanity!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:57 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


The celebrity endorsements at the end should have also included Shatner, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Stephen Hawking.
posted by elizardbits at 1:12 PM on August 2


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