Russia launches 'Noah's Ark' satellite for space biology research

April 19, 2013 at 4:16 PM

MOSCOW, April 19 (UPI) -- Russia says it has launched an orbital Noah's Ark to study the effects of spaceflight on animals to prepare for human interplanetary flights.

Bion-M1, the world's only returnable satellite dedicated to biological research, was launched Friday, Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said.

"The Bion-1M satellite has separated from the Soyuz carrier rocket and entered an elliptic orbit at 575 kilometers (357 miles) above the Earth," a Roscosmos spokesman told RIA Novosti.

On board for a 30-day flight are 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos, snails and containers with various microorganisms and plants, RIA Novosti reported.

The satellite's inhabitants will be the subject of more than 70 physiological, morphological, genetic and molecular-biological experiments, scientists said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
When flatworms can't find a mate, they self-fertilize
Scientists are watching the birth of a planet
Rosetta spots sinkholes on comet 67P
Single-celled plankton has a human-like eye