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Hairless chipmunks may be result of spaceship crash

October 18, 2011

Alexander Berdnikov, the head of the Altai Republic in Russia, recently made a strange request with a hefty award.

"If someone brings me a bald chipmunk with traces of heptyl poisoning, I'll give that person an award of 500,000 rubles," Berdnikov said, according to Pravda.

His call for this creature comes after a slew of reports of dead furless chipmunks being found by hunters in the woods as well as dead fish floating down rivers in the area, the news source reports. Heptyl is a highly toxic substance, but scientists performed tests to ensure that it was not present in dangerous amounts after the crash.

In August, the Progress M-12M spaceship crash-landed in Altai territory on its way to deliver nearly 1,800 pounds of heptyl, among other supplies, to the International Space Station, which the publication reports is the first failure in 30 years of a Progress spacecraft. Heptyl is a highly toxic substance, but scientists performed tests to ensure that it was not present in dangerous amounts after the crash.

The six-member crew of the ISS is still waiting for a cargo delivery. Daily Tech reports that there is another one scheduled to launch by the end of the year, and the crew will be fine without a delivery for a few months.

People who are interested to know if any bald chipmunks have been found, or how the crash investigation is going can use phone cards to make calls to Russia.

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