Russia launches some creatures into space.
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A Russian-built Soyuz 2 space rocket took off Friday at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a menagerie of live animals on board for a month-long experiment designed to learn how the creatures respond to space travel. The group of animal cosmonauts include eight gerbils, 15 geckos, and 45 mice, along with some fish, snails and a variety of microorganisms.
The rocket is carrying the Bion-M1 space capsule, which will be home to the pioneering crew of animals as they spend a month in a 357-mile high orbit above Earth, according to scientists. The Russian Federal Space Agency, called Roscosmos, is running the project in collaboration with NASA and an international team of scientists, who will help oversee the variety of experiments scheduled to take place aboard the spacecraft.