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Rodents' space capsule returns to Russia

May 19, 2013 at 1:47 PM

MOSCOW, May 19 (UPI) -- A biological research satellite capsule returned to Earth Sunday with its mice, gerbils, geckos and plants after a 30-day flight, Russian space officials said.

The capsule landed shortly after 7 a.m., and officials immediately opened its hatches to bring the animals out of the capsule, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia launched the biological satellite April 19 with eight Mongolian gerbils, 45 mice, 15 geckos snails and various microorganisms inside of the capsule.

More than 70 physiological, morphological, genetic and molecular-biological experiments were conducted on the animals during the flight.

The experiments investigated the animals' reactions to interplanetary flights, officials said.